Last year, on Friday, March 6th, I received the phone call from my doctor, at 4:00 pm, confirming that I had cancer. He couldn’t tell me anything about my cancer – wasn’t allowed to since he was not an oncologist. I remember shaking as I wrote down his fax number so that I could fax my written permission for him to fax me the “results” of my biopsy.
I sat in my office and waited for the fax line to ring. And there it was in black in white – a bunch of numbers – none of which (to me) looked good. I remembered just enough from my attempt at majoring in biology to know that words like “mitotic” index had to do with cell division, growth. The numbers were high and I spent the weekend thinking, this is it, I’m done. Three months? Six? How many?
I knew it somehow in my soul, mind, heart (I don’t know really where or how) before the 6th. I knew it weeks earlier. Not sure how, but, I just knew that I had cancer. But, it wasn’t until the biopsy results came back on March 6th, 2009, that there was actual proof. It was one of the hardest days of my life – and far worse for my parents and family.
My parents drove to meet me at my office immediately. A friend was already there and stayed with me until my parents arrived. I told a friend down the hall whose sister had been through her own breast cancer ordeal.
That night my brother Paul and my sister-in-law Marcella came over. My parents stayed with me I think the whole weekend. My brother Steve drove up the next morning with his kids. My niece Julia Anne (who is named for my Aunt Anne who died of breast cancer) came to my door alone – brother and nephew waiting in the car – so that Jujubee (that’s been my nickname for her since she was a baby) could see me alone first.
She grabbed hold of me so tight and began sobbing. We stood there in my door way holding each other and I promised her that I would be fine, that I was going to be here long enough to be a great aunt to her children someday. That seemed to work.
The rest of the weekend was pretty much a blur. Other than a private walk with my brother Steve at the park across from my home. Breaking down in the kitchen and trying to hide that from my family, my brother Paul telling me it was okay to cry. The t.v. on (thankfully way too loud) with one of the “Harry Potter” movies blaring and my 8 year old nephew seemingly engrossed in it – but keenly aware that something was very wrong.
Words like chemotherapy and radiation were tossed about. Surviving, eating cancer fighting foods, etc.
It was a weekend of my loved ones being near me, all of us at some point or another crying and me reassuring everyone that I was going to be fine.
But, that weekend, last year, in my head I thought I was the walking dead.
It would not be for some weeks before I would find out that in fact my cancer was caught early enough to be cured. No guarantees of course. But, it was a far cry from what I feared – being told that I didn’t have a chance.
And, since then I have been on my little cancer roller coaster. Ups and downs and the ups have been sweet. I have made my way through this past year with the help and prayers of so many and I am so grateful to all of you. I would not be here in the way that I am here, without you.
So, today, one year later, is a much better day, a much better weekend, to say the very least. And I owe that to so many people. My parents first and foremost and there is a long list after that.
I am here and I plan on sticking around.
Thank you for your continued prayers.
Thank you for everything.