I don’t think anyone ever really is prepared to hear that she has a serious disease. We all just kind of live our lives with this sense of immortality, especially when we are younger. We focus on our lives, making mountains out of the mundane. “My coffee was too hot,” “that waiter is a complete moron,” “what are we all going to wear to that concert?” “time to plan vacation! only two weeks until Christmas break!” So what happens when we do find out? What happens when we get a diagnosis that brings all of that to a screeching halt and suddenly realize, I am not immortal?
The whole thought of having a serious disease wasn’t even on my radar. I had a son, a law practice, and a social life with my family and friends. Those were at the forefront. Until all of a sudden, I was staring at my diagnosis and the implication of death, right in the face.
I have cancer. Those three words are so hard for me to say and I break down in tears every time I say it. I was never really prepared to hear the diagnosis, but I knew something was wrong with me. It has taken me a while to share this moment with everyone; it has just been too emotional and raw for me to even deal with at times, but I know that sharing it with all of my wonderful family and friends, my biggest supporters, will help.
For several months I had bleeding that wouldn’t stop. I pretty much had every test out there ranging from hormones to STDs to fibroids, cysts, etc. They all came back negative. When my first gyno told me just to deal with it, I switched gynos. My second one knew something was wrong and referred me to an oncologist. By this time, 6 months had gone by.
December 18th was the day of the appointment. My son’s last day of school before Christmas break. My mom and I went to the oncologist together because I just could not go alone. The doctor took a biopsy and those minutes waiting for the results seemed like an eternity. My mom kept reassuring me that I would be ok. I sat there shaking like a leaf. When the doctor came back into the room I saw on her face the diagnosis before she even spoke the words. I honestly don’t even really remember what she said, I just remember the feel of my mom’s multi-colored sweater on my face. How it was soft and scratchy at the same time. I remember gripping it fiercely, not wanting to let go. The overflowing tears from my eyes wet the fabric of my mom’s sweater, softening it. My throat was full and scratchy at the same time from my wailing grief. My mom can make this go away. She can make it all go away, because that’s what moms do. Then I thought of my son. My sweet strong son who has battled his eosinophilic esophagitis since birth. I couldn’t leave him. I wasn’t ready to leave him; he needs me, I have to fight with him. God wouldn’t make me a parent and then take me away from him. I don’t know how long I was crying and I don’t remember much about that day. I do remember telling my dad when we got back and seeing his face fall. Hugging me tightly and enveloping me with love, he told me we are going to beat this. Daddy, please make this go away. I want a long, full life like you and mom. I don’t want to die.
The following days I lived in a semi-dream state and tried to focus on Christmas. I watched Star Wars and didn’t even really enjoy it because my mind kept wandering. I have cancer. I have cancer. What??? Even the battle scenes couldn’t take me away from my wandering thoughts. The days suddenly started to fill up with appointments and plans for surgery and treatment. The holidays I spent in a holidaze..my favorite time of year marred by this disease. I kept it together and really enjoyed Christmas with my family. I relished every moment, every hug, every ornament and every present. It’s not going to be my last Christmas. New Year’s Eve I only wanted to spend with family. When we clinked our glasses, I was happy to be alive. This is not going to be my last New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day I spent the morning with some friends. I sat there with them, listening to them regale their stories about the previous evening and smiled, living in the moment. I felt happy and laughed. I felt loved. It was a special morning and I thought, this is a new year. This wonderful start of this new year was going to end the same way, feeling loved and alive surrounded by people I loved. That thought has helped me deal with this diagnosis. I am going to end this year a survivor. I am a warrior and a strong fighter. I am going to live.
© 2016 HIME Wellness LLC