My story begins like many, many others. My cancer was discovered through a routine mammogram.
Strange that I had had thoughts — weeks before — that I was busy and should just cancel the appointment, but like a good patient I convinced myself to keep it.
After the mammogram, I left, still thinking that this was a waste of time. A day or so later, I received a call. The nurse was very kind, explaining that I needed to come back for an ultrasound.
I returned, still thinking that there was absolutely nothing wrong and I hoped that this wouldn’t take long. The ultrasound was completed, and I sat in the room at the Breast Center along with several other patients, thinking I really wish they would hurry up, I really need to get back to work.
I was getting restless as I realized that other patients had come in after me and already received results and left. It still never crossed my mind that there could be a problem. Finally, one of the staff came and got me. I walked into the room, along with my best friend, and sat down; and reality hit me in this dimly lit room.
I was shown what appeared to be cancer but only a biopsy would tell for sure. My first question was, “OK, what do we do to take care of this?” I was scheduled for a biopsy the next week; and the day after the biopsy, on Dec. 1, 2009, I received the call that changed my life forever.
My navigator, Tammy Creech, called and began the conversation with small talk, or at least she tried to, I told her, “Tammy just say it, I have cancer.”
I hung up the phone, and the first person I turned to was Jesus Christ. I simply prayed, Lord, what do I do? I’ve never had cancer and don’t know how to take care of this.
You see, I have always been a person that would take things to the cross but would go back and pick them up. After all, I knew how to fix them; and sometimes, well, Jesus just took too long to accomplish what I thought should be accomplished.
Little did I know that this journey was just beginning and it would be a journey that I would not travel alone. I met with Dr. Rick Shedd 10 days later. No promises were made, but from the outside looking in, I was probably looking at a lumpectomy and radiation.
On Dec. 30, 2009, my cancer was removed by the skilled hands of Dr. Shedd; however, we were to find out several days later that things weren’t as simple as expected. The cancer had gotten into the lymph nodes. Thus, I would need to have more lymph nodes removed.
Prayers were being said from Indiana to South Carolina to Louisiana to Colorado, the prayer warriors in my life were taking my need to the cross. And God listened, and the results of the lymph node removal were much more positive, the cancer had only invaded one lymph node.
On Feb. 12, 2010, I had my first round of chemo. By the second round of chemo, I woke up one morning and my hair was falling out in chunks.
People think this is devastating, and for some it may be. But for me, it was just part of this journey; and by the time you reach the point that this happens, it is the least of your cares.
There were days when I cried all day, days when I wanted people around and days when I wanted nothing to do with anyone.
When alone, sometimes it felt good to scream and sometimes if felt good to throw something. The only thing that was a daily constant, was my daily reliance on Christ to walk me though this journey.
My comfort was knowing that when I thought I didn’t have the strength to take another round of chemo or radiation, I knew that Jesus was wrapping his arms around me, comforting me and carrying me when I didn’t have the strength to go on my own.
No one call tell another person the specific emotions they will experience on this journey as each person is different and will experience things in their own way.
But what you can be told is that this journey can be completed and you will be a stronger person at the end of this journey. Before being diagnosed with cancer, I thought I knew how someone with cancer would feel; but until you walk this path, you have no real idea.
So, what did I learn along my journey? I learned that no matter what life throws you, as long as my faith is where it should be, I can get through anything. I learned to lean on God in a way that I never knew possible.