I reached a milestone this week – four years cancer free! I’m filled with incredible gratitude for the blessing of health, but I don’t want to forget that time four years ago when I found out I had breast cancer.
I have always kept my yearly physical appointments on schedule, like clockwork. I take my medicine on time, and pretty much do everything the doctor tells me (save the exercise and eating right – won’t get into that). In 2013 when I went in for my annual exam, I knew something wasn’t right. The sonogram proved it. The radiologist reported back within ten minutes to say, “we’re scheduling you for two biopsies this Friday.” That was on Tuesday.
I must have been on autopilot — I just did what needed to be done. My husband, poor thing, was taking it worse than me. When we arrived for my biopsies, the sweetest woman on earth, a nurse with a face like an angel, told me, “You just hold my hand as tight as you want. If it hurts, squeeze harder.” Her arm will never be the same.
I was told it could take 3-4 days for the results to come back, but I was spared a long wait. I got a call on Monday at work from the head nurse. She told me the biopsies show early stage cancer. She also said, “I want you to listen to me – we have caught this early. We are scheduling an appointment for you to see a surgeon – he’s the best and one that I would go to in the same situation.” The appointment was scheduled. It’s funny … the only time I remember crying is when I told my co-worker I had cancer. I guess it never hits home until you hear yourself say it.
Then I waited to see the surgeon … that was the hardest … waiting. Once there he explained the biopsies showed the cancer was like a tree – broad at the top and deep roots at the bottom. He recommended mastectomy, it was too big for a lumpectomy. Surgery was scheduled.
The following months of rehab and reconstruction seem like a blur. Throughout that time, though, I remember seeing other patients while at the oncologist whose diagnoses were far worse. But the one thing we shared was gratitude for life that we had.
I have lost several friends over the past few years and have many currently battling cancer. To each – I remember you and thank you for teaching me about dignity and courage.
Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”