Monday, October 29, 2012

The day I found out I had cancer

I wish I felt like writing about the surgery because some hilarious stuff happened, but I don't. Maybe I will tomorrow.

One week after surgery, I still didn't have the pathology results. I called the nurse to report a few complications that I was having and she thought I should be examined.

My doctor was on-call at the hospital all day, so I booked an appointment with another doctor in the practice. He walked into the room and pulled up my pathology report on his laptop. I could see it there on his computer screen.

He said, "I know you haven't gotten your results yet, so I'll give them to you now." (Long pause. Reading.  Re-reading.) "Okay, let's do your exam first. Then you can come into my office and we'll discuss the results."

Great. It's obviously bad news... but how bad? Do I have cancer? What's going to happen to me? How am I going to tell my family? My mind raced in a million different directions during that 15-minute exam, which felt more like 15-years.

I walked into his office. I guess I was visibly nervous because I watched him morph into a grandfather-figure as I sat down in the chair. He almost put his arm up around me as he showed me the report.

Cancer. It's such a nasty word. It's hard for me to even it say it out loud. Just typing it makes tears stream down my face. Can this be real?

I went to that appointment by myself, but please don't feel sorry for me because that's exactly what I needed. You'd think that a blogger would always be willing to pour her heart and soul out to everyone, but that's not the case, at least not with me.

I sat in my car in the parking lot for probably 20 minutes. I cried, I sobbed, I screamed, "I wanted it to be over!", and then I cried some more. And I would have never done that in front of anybody - including my husband, my Mom,  my sister, or my best friend - and I really needed that release.

My gynecologist called me an hour later to elaborate on what the other doctor had told me. She showed concern, she was human, and it helped me deal with it all somehow. She said that she'd call an oncologist the next morning so I could map out the next phase of treatment.

Treatment. That's another word that takes on a whole new meaning when it's attached to cancer and when that cancer is attached to you.

Am I going to die?

I thought about my daughter, Bailey, who is so strong and quiet. It's hard to tell when she's hurting or needs help, but I can always read her. Who will answer her questions now?

She needs a mother to take her shopping for a prom dress or wipe her tears when some idiot breaks her heart. She needs a mother to control her wedding decorations or worry about her when she's on a date. She needs a mother to love her unconditionally.

I thought about my son, Drew. I tried to recall any memories that I had from when I was three-years-old, and I couldn't think of one.

How will he know how much I loved him? How will he know how bad I wanted him? How will he understand that I would have given my life for him?

I thought about my husband, Brian. There is nobody on this earth who could love that man as much as I do, although any woman would be lucky to try. How can I leave him all alone?

I wanted to give them something, something that goes beyond life insurance money or jewelry, something that shows them exactly how happy they made me. And then I thought about this blog, and suddenly, these stories became worth millions.

Once the sadness started to subside, I was mad. Mad that I have to go through this. Mad that my family and friends have to go through this with me. Mad that it's worse than they thought. Mad that it's just the beginning.

But now, I'm starting to let go of all that anger, sadness and fear because that's not what wins this battle. Faith, strength and optimism win this battle. And I really want to win.

It's easy to ask, "why me?", but I think it's so I can be a voice.

How many women face this disease in silence? How many women don't understand that you can have cervical cancer without any of the typical symptoms?

I've been given an opportunity to share my story and remind men and women of the importance of preventive testing: Pap smears, mammograms, PSA tests, physicals. It's too easy to get busy and forget to make time for those things.

I keep thinking about lyrics to a song: "To be salt and light in the world... Let the redeemed of the Lord rise up... Let the redeemed of the Lord say so...".

Thank you, God, for choosing me to be salt and light in the world; for the strength to rise up and for the faith to say so.

Now, let's go kick cancer's butt!

Thank you to my good friend Amber for making this pic and to everyone who has posted it on Facebook. 


  1. Girl you are going to kick this! And know that by sharing your story I've told so many women especially ones with daughters our age. I always think in times like these God is good and He is just calling you closer to you to worship, praise, and experience is majesty. Praying thursday is clearer

  2. Yes, kick cancer's butt. Do it for me, and all those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. You have an amazing family and an amazing outlook. Two necessities when battling this disease. Stay strong, and if you have a weak moment, fall back on that family of yours. They will gladly carry you through.

    Joanna O

  3. Yes you will kick it's nasty butt! With that attitude you will beat this!

  4. We have "circled the wagons" and we are "Calling All Angels" for you. The entire family is praying. The church is making you a prayer quilt. Each knot in the string is where someone said a prayer of healing for you personally. You WILL win this battle. It is curable and those are precious words. I know that the Bible says "By HIS stripes, We are HEALED". BELIEVE IT...say it out loud. I love you more than my own life. I wish I could take this from you, I gladly would. We will fight...and we will pray. FIGHTING+PRAYING=HEALING.
    God bless you, my baby girl.

  5. Amanda, you are amazing & a really strong person. Not everyone could write a blog while going through what you are going through now. I believe you will kick cancer's butt, you have such a positive attitude & I believe it certainly takes a positive attitude to beat cancer. Reading your Mom's post above makes me cry because as a mother I know she would take this from you if she could. You are so fortunate to have such a close family & they will be there for you during this very trying time. God bless you Amanda. Good luck in your fight but I know you will succeed. Our thoughts & prayers are with you & your husband, kids & family.
    Dianna Waldroup

  6. You are an amazing person and my prayers are with you while you fight this. I have no doubt that you WILL prevail!

  7. Praying for you! You will kick it and you will kick it HARD!!!!

  8. God Bless you Amanda! You will beat this! Prayers are being said for a speedy recovery for you. I am so sorry you have to go through this, but so glad you can turn it into a positive. That's a wonderful way to be in the world. ~ another Amanda

  9. My heart goes out to you during this time, prayers on the way!! You can beat this! Wishing you much peace, love, strength and courage to help you through. Kelly

  10. I was just thinking about you today and wondering if you had any results. I'm so sorry for how this is going down and wish for something else. That being said, I appreciate and share your understanding that there are reasons sometimes and ways that things work out for the best--like you having to go alone, so you could really be emotional alone. I am that same way. I'm glad you're a voice; you're a GREAT voice, but I am sorry for the struggle. Thanks for all the honesty and sharing. I'll keep you in our prayers.

  11. I am new to your blog, but want you to know that I am sending healing prayers your way.

  12. Unfortunately, I know exactly how you are feeling. I received a bad diagnosis a year ago from a lesion that my gyno thought was nothing but biopsied anyway - it was a rare form of vulvar cancer. Your world changes in that instant. My best advice: 1. get to the oncologist as soon as possible. You will feel so much better once you have a plan. 2. don't do your own internet research. Yeah, I get it, it's hard not to, but my oncologist said he really wished people didn't do their own research. Us regular folks don't have the knowledge or the filters to know what is pertinent info and what isn't. Besides, it just makes you crazy.
    I will be praying for you.

  13. Amanda, God loves you and He will never leave you. Prayers for you and your family. Stay focused on your goal and your faith.
    Amanda (W) .

  14. Amanda, God loves you and He will never leave you. Prayers for you and your family. Stay focused on your goal and your faith.
    Amanda (W) .

  15. Amanda, God loves you and He will never leave you. Prayers for you and your family. Stay focused on your goal and your faith.
    Amanda (W) .

  16. Amanda, God loves you and He will never leave you. Prayers for you and your family. Stay focused on your goal and your faith.
    Amanda (W) .

  17. Oh the insufferable waiting, which brings on the worrying. When you hear 'cancer', you want a plan of attack NOW and you want to get started. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. I'm praying peace for you as you gather your strength for the war ahead. Your positive attitude will definitely help you get through this, as will friends and family when you need them. Until then, may the horrible waiting and wondering not drag on and may your plan come together quickly.

  18. Wishing you the very best and hoping for a very quick recovery! Your positive attitude about life if contagious! Here's a quote from the author of one of my favorite books:

    "Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
    ~Viktor E. Frankl


  19. Amanda: Your words are so personal to me. Although I am not experiencing what you are going through, I can relate with the way you handle news. I too would prefer to go by myself so I could process everything before sharing with those I love. Some people need everyone to help them through things, some don't. We are just different and cope the way it best helps us. I am praying for you....still. Before the bad news, after the bad news. You inspire me. You will beat this. With Gods love and blessing, He will bring you peace. Hugs those beautiful children of yours. ~Debra

  20. Thanks for sharing your story. Keeping kicking butt!

  21. You write so honestly about this. It's beautifully done. You are so young and beautiful to have to deal with this issue. But, you are strong too, and otherwise healthy. I pray you will be blessed with good docs and caregivers in the days to come. You WILL be a beacon for other women, that is clear. God bless you.

  22. Just celebrated my 2 year cancer free mark!
    I had a form of Uterine Cancer too.
    Wasn't the greatest time BUT a ton of good came from it too.
    Chin up an plow on babe. You will change the way some view cancer.
    This insidious craptastic time will be a memory soon.

  23. You are a woman with strength. Do you know how many people would have gone to that path appointment alone? Not many. But you have the best kind of strength. You have the strength to show your vulnerability. That will help you through this because just "being strong" will break you.

    Along the same lines, you are without a doubt inspiring. This post is eloquent, honest and telegraphs your strong faith so well. But don't get trapped in being "an inspiration" because that will drain your energy. All you have to do is "be" to inspire those around you.

    I am praying for you and will be so relieved when you get a plan. Limbo SUCKS! I'm giving you a virtual bloggy hug. Ellen

  24. You can do this. Thank you for writing this.

  25. Wow, I know Cancer can (and has happened) to any one of us. A-N-Y O-N-E O-F U-S. I am no longer naive (at the ripe old age of 50) about Cancer, as in, I no longer think it couldn't happen to me! It absolutely could! My mom is a two-time survivor. I was 17 or 18 when she got breast cancer, and it scared the hell out of me. She was always the strong one, and when she was weakened by Cancer, I couldn't handle it. Don't know why I'm sharing this with you, I guess we all have a Cancer story. I'll tell you one more. Two children in our Down syndrome group got leukemia, a nine-year-old and a toddler. I can't imagine what that was like for these families to have to live in the hospital one and off for months and months and months. The toddler survived. So thank you for sharing what you are going through, on your blog. It makes us all stop and think and remember and shed tears with you and for you and for all the other Cancer survivors, and the not so luck ones, like Daniel the nine-year-old boy with Down syndrome.

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