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.|