Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Don't Have "The Cancer"

The doctor who performed the surgical biopsy called me on the evening of June 13th, my 13th wedding anniversary. I knew it was cancer. The receptionist or assistant calls when it's benign. My heart firmed up and I was ready to hear my grim diagnosis.

"The node we biopsied is benign," he said.
"Wow, really?" I replied.

As he explained the findings and lack thereof, I listened, confused and a little disheartened. Disheartened? As he spoke, I attempted to change my thoughts from 'I have cancer' to 'I am cancer-free.' My mind struggled to make the change.

We discussed my followup for removal of the stitches and hung up.

I made all the calls to family and friends and they rejoiced, "BENIGN!" And I halfheartedly rejoiced with them. Halfheartedly? What the hell was wrong with me?

Two days later, I received word that my friend Jill and my friend Darci has positive cancer diagnosis. I was so sad for them. I felt that I had the knowledge of this disease...I was ready for it...I knew survivors and fighters and had the massive support from my Relay friends.

I was broken in two when Jill and Darci were diagnosed. Did they have support? Did they know about their disease? I wept to Laurie that I felt so scared for them. How could they have received a diagnosis that I was prepared for?

On my birthday, we celebrated Jeffrey's graduation...nearing the end of the day, I escaped the chaos to my parent's bedroom and decided to lie down. My dad came in and we talked a bit about anxiety, noise and the business of the day.

"Here's something different, dad," I began, "I almost feel abandoned by the cancer."
He smiled and replied, "You know you're really sick in the head when..."

So good. It was perfect. It was a wake up for me. Of course he was joking, but truly. How could I have wanted this for myself? I began to cry as I told him about Jill and Darci and the frustration that I, who was so prepared, (even choosing a new home near close friends who could help me with my kids), was denied this same outcome.

I am a first born, natural planner, organizer, etc. When I found the lump in late February, I began to plan for the worst. Childcare, Chris' work schedule, carpool for Flan to school...I was ready. And my mind was stuck in survival mode.

I realized this a couple days ago when Jeffrey asked me if I was still taking him with me to Moses Lake when I go visit Kelly in August. The first thing I thought was, "Well, no, I probably won't make that trip because of the chemotherapy." - But something snapped and I felt like a rush of breath in my body and told him "YES."

Programming myself to live and be joyful has been tough for me. Everyday since my negative diagnosis I have had to remember that my life is going on as normal for now. I can get excited about moving, my new craft room, simple things like The 4th of July, summer BBQs with the family and more birthdays.

As I told Laurie, I am without cancer in my body for now because I am here to help those who have cancer. As you may know, my work with Relay for Life, raising money for cancer awareness and research, is something I find so worthwhile. I was created to comfort and encourage the hurting. I know I was. And I'm finding hope in that.