There are few words in the English language that stir human emotion as much as the word “cancer” does. Nearly everyone has been touched by this sneaky bully in some way. There are no two words that scare women more than “ovarian cancer.” It’s a silent killer. How do I know? I carried one of those insidious tumors inside my body for months. On October 17, 2012 the big, bad bully was removed along with 34 lymph nodes, my uterus, cervix, right ovary and part of my peritoneum. I will have a 12″ reminder of its invasion for the rest of my life.
Now the fun starts! I am facing a port insertion for chemo on Tuesday and my first chemo treatment on November 9th (one day after my buddy, Coach Cathy, started 5 years ago). Cancer sucks – no two ways about it. However, it’s time to take the bad and turn it into good and see how I can find ways to glorify God in the process.
First, I am at stage 1. Stage 1 is the most curable stage. Given the size of the mass, it should have been much worse, but only the mass showed cancer. Two, despite throwing a blood clot during surgery and spending 4 days in ICU, I am still here. If you’re going to get a pulmonary embolism, having one in the recovery room is the best place to do it. Three, my mom is an incredibly strong woman. I knew this after watching her care for my dad for nearly 9 years with all his heart, diabetes and MRSA issues. My mommy spent 7 nights with me in the hospital so I would always have a second set of ears for those early morning resident visits and would have a shoulder to cry on during the darkest part of the night when the voices start to scare you. Only a mom gets those voices. I get my sons’ voices, and my mom gets mine. Four, my husband has a job that provides excellent insurance. All my care for the rest of the year is free since I’ve met my deductible and co-insurance (another ICU benefit).
People have commented on how amazed at how my humor has come back and how I’m up and moving. I’m a mom. I have to have humor – it’s a rule. I also need to be able to move. I have two boys – one of which does not know the meaning of sit still. While napping is a necessity, I have learned that a 15 minute power nap is better than a 90 minute snooze. Sleep is not overrated, just a precious commodity.
While these lessons are important, I’ve learned two things that are more valuable than gold. I am blessed with a network of friends and prayer warriors that is second to none. I am still not able to pray much, but am doing the best I can with little “God chats” at night. So many people have lifted up our family in prayer, it amazes me. The biggest lesson – despite feeling completely alone, God doesn’t abandon you. You let go of Him, not the other way around. May I be able to always hang on tightly.