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10 Years...and I'm Still Here (Part 2)

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

If you haven't already read part 1, you can find it here: I'm Still Here (Part 1)

DAY TWO: Saturday, April 6, 2013

Upon waking that Saturday morning, I felt better, but still somehow off. Some unseen force had drained my strength. Whether weakness, dehydration, or the lack of sleep, I wasn't sure. I just know that I wasn't feeling up to par to play tennis, so I backed out of that first morning match and assigned someone else to play. For that match, I'd relegate myself to cheering and encouraging from the sidelines and, if I continued to feel better, would play the afternoon match.

To this day, that whole tournament is a blur. I know we didn't win, but without going back and researching through the official tennis organization's website, I don't know how well we did individually, either. All I do know is that I was losing-and not just on the tennis court.

The afternoon came and my body gave me false hope, telling me that whatever ailed me the day and night before had run its course. The afternoon arrived and I decided I felt well enough to play. The thing about adrenaline is this: it makes you forget about the things that are wrong with you. You can take a minor injury while playing a sport and more often than not, you don't realize the injury until after the event and the body has calmed back down. While it felt that way for me, it didn't look that way to my wife, who watched that afternoon tennis match from the sidelines with a growing sense of trepidation.

That calm eased into me after the match and that's when I realized the pain in the upper part of my stomach was back. My wife asked me how I was feeling and I with clenched teeth, muttered, "The heartburn's back."

She just stared at me—she already knew.

Finished with tennis for the day, my wife and I and a few other members of the team went out to eat dinner. I didn't eat much. The pressure in my stomach was just too much to bear. I hate to vomit, but at that point I was wishing that I could, just to relieve the pressure in my stomach. Even a little burp would have been a blessing—but all I could do was sit in agony as the fire inside my gut burned hotter by the second.

My wife suggested that we go to an urgent care facility, but stubbornly I insisted on stopping at a local pharmacy for some over-the-counter medication instead. She gave me that look wives give their husbands when they try to be brave and deny that something's wrong. Yeah, that was me. I was hurting, but I didn't want to admit it.

So what is the lesson I learned that day? Listen to your body. As you'll discover in part 3 of this series, I was lucky. I should have listened to my body—it was screaming that something was wrong and I, in my stubbornness, thought I'd be okay with just a little time and rest. I should have listened to my wife (who happens to be a nurse, by the way). I should have started giving my health some attention years earlier. I should have done a lot of things—but as it stood, I had just turned forty the previous October. I was still young! A little overweight? Yes. Not eating right? Yes. The unfortunate realization was that the problems inside my body were beyond reversing without medical intervention.

I would find out the following day just what that medical intervention entailed...

About the Author

Christopher J. Thomasson was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1972. At the age of two, his family permanently settled in the piney woods of East Texas. He discovered a love for reading and writing at a very young age and until the mid-2010's he only ever wrote for himself, his family, and his closest friends.

He currently lives in Smith County, Texas with his beautiful wife Debra. They have two children, Camron and Megan; and four grandchildren; Braydon, Cheyenne, Brooklynn, and Wyatt Christopher.

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