Thursday, July 29, 2010
One year ago today I was diagnosed with cancer. It was the worst day of my life, until the day that I found out the cancer didn't go away and I would have to undergo further treatment and a transplant. The picture to the right was taken one week before my diagnosis, I feel so sad when I think about how carefree and happy I was then, and I how I had no idea cancer was growing in my chest.
I've replayed the moment that my life changed so many times in my head, I remember the night before my doctor's appt, praying that I was ok and healthy. I remember what I wore that day...I figured if I dressed up like everything was ok, I couldn't possibly get bad news. I remember going to work that day, trying to pretend like it was a normal day and I was going to be just fine. I remember walking to my doctor's office that afternoon, begging God to save me and give me good news...I remember thinking I couldn't possibly have cancer, that's too crazy. I remember when the words came out of my doctor's mouth that yes, it was Hodgkin's Lymphoma, yes I did have cancer. And I remember crying as I called my parents and Ross from the doctor's office and had to explain to them that I had a life-threatning disease. I remember hearing the pain in my parents' voices as they tried to assure me from thousands of miles away that I would be ok. The pain I felt that day as I struggled to understand what was happening to me is just as real now one year later as it was that day. Although I looked perfectly healthy on the outside, inside I had a horrible disease. And I could have never guessed what this last year would have brought me. So much pain, fear, worry, sleeplessness and introspection. And it's not over. Everyday I learn just how long and hard this process will be.
So I guess it's fitting that today a nurse called me and said, "Don't be alarmed, but....". My heart almost stopped. I've been having problems breathing the last 2 weeks, feeling very short of breath when I walk short or long distances. I went through a myriad of tests this past week to determine what was going on because my doctors weren't sure. They listened to my lungs and didn't hear any fluid but a CT scan I had today showed that there was something abnormal in my lungs. So I have to go back to the hospital tomorrow to have a biopsy so they can see if I have an infection or if its just scarring from the chemotherapy. It's hard not to feel defeated when something like this happens. I would love to be writing that one year later I am rebuilding my body, my mind, my spirit, but I feel like I'm not there yet. Frankly I'm tired. I'm tired of being poked and prodded and giving blood and feeling and looking like a cancer patient. And the irony is that I was supposed to fly home this evening to meet with my wedding planner Heather and start looking at vendors for my wedding. Instead I'm headed back to the hospital. I know there can be a lot of complications with stem cell transplants and I was lucky to not have any big issues while I was hospitalized. Still it's incredibly frustrating to try and find myself again after this process, only to find out that something else is wrong.
I have to have faith that this is part of the larger plan and once again I am grateful that I spoke up to my doctors and told them something was wrong so I can be treated. I did that last year when I had a swollen lymph node on my neck and I thank God everyday that I didn't simply dismiss it, instead I saw a doctor. As bad as it's been, it could have been so much worse if I had ignored it. So I'll continue to be aware of my body and in-tune with what's going on.