There are only a few times in my life where time has actually suspended and stood still, where the life that suddenly became larger than me had something big to tell me.
One of them was hearing the words “cervical cancer” for the first time.
Words, suspended, as if in mid-air.
The other was this morning when the doctor called me to deliver the results from pathology.
Time stands still, even when the words still hang there.
For me, this whole thing wasn’t over after surgery. I knew there would be a week of dealing with the pain of the surgery and a week of dealing with the pain of the question that hung over my head, my family’s heads, did they get it all?
The answer couldn’t come soon enough. I won’t make you wait for it either.
THEY GOT IT.
ALL OF IT.
The Cansuh has officially left the building.
Even writing that seems surreal.
The doctor tried to move on from that information because she began on the topic of my “pocketbook,” but because the words were hanging there while I tried to allow them to permeate, I was totally overwhelmed. I couldn’t speak and I am sure that all she could hear was some silent crying from the other end.
When she paused to allow me to have a moment and said, “I know. This really is good news,” I was able to eek out a hushed, “thank you.”
She went on to tell me the tumor was larger than they thought, but they had gotten it all, and there would be no need for further treatment like radiation or chemotherapy. From here on out, it will be appointments every three months and then every six. The pocketbook “accessory” gets to leave on May 23rd. Mark your calendar. I am marking mine.
She said the pathologist had “never seen anything like this.” Meaning she’d never seen a tumor of this size not having penetrated the surrounding areas.
Right now I consider myself very lucky.
We hung up the phone and the onslaught and rush of the weeks of panic and fear and worry washed over me in the form of the ugly cry.
I could only weep.
Weeks of prayers. Weeks of tears. Weeks of panicky, crippling fear. Weeks of worry. Weeks of questions. Will they get it all? Am I ok with having a hysterectomy? Will I need radiation? Chemo? Will I survive any or all of this? Did I live enough? Did I do enough with my kids? Did I teach them enough? The right stuff, the stuff that matters? Did I love hard enough? Did I say it all?
All questions I wanted and demanded answers to yet there were none. For weeks.
At the end of the day, every day, for weeks, I had to dry my tears, rely on the fact that all I had done in my life was right up until that point because there is no going backward, and just simply have faith that no matter what the answer is or was going to be, it would all be ok. It’s hard to end every day that way, with complete and utter faith, but I kept repeating in my head that God would not give me what I couldn’t handle. Even in the midst of all this and having my son’s brain MRI in the middle of it, I still knew that simply, He would not give me more than I could handle. And if I got bad news, that must mean He thinks a lot of me. It made me laugh sometimes to think of things that way, but it had to be true. I knew it as truth.
I will tell you, this news, once again breathes new perspective into my life. Hysterectomy schmysterectomy. The post-surgery pain feels suddenly lifted, it feels like a dream, even, if the pain of this surgery is all the emotional and physical pain I am going to have out of this, if I am not going to have to leave the party early, if I’m not going to have to make sudden decisions about my future or the future of my family, if this is all it is, I am going to be ok here.
I will tell you, also, that the new perspective gained from just the words “cervical cancer” has changed the way I will forever do things moving forward. I am a firm believer in not doing things that you don’t love. I believe that now more than ever.
I will tell you that I may have known the value of being good to your body before, but had I never changed my ways and had continued down the path of unhealthy and couch-potato, would I have gotten the same results? Maybe not. Being healthy now means so much more to me now than just about the weight part of it. So much more.
And I will tell you that I might have appreciated before the cansuh, but I have never appreciated like I do now. Loving hard? Yes, please. Living hard? Yes, thank you. With an overwhelming side dish of snuggles, flowers, the sun and wind on my face, baby feet, puffed cheese balls, hugs, saying it and saying it now before time goes away, and lots and lots (and lots) of pictures.
I am sure there will still be an emotional part of the hysterectomy lingering, I won’t lie that it might bother me at some point when the dust settles, things get quiet again and I have soft pangs for babies. But right now, I’m reeling from this goodness and I’m so happy and thankful for the family that I have, including the squeeziest, smushiest, most amazing, dirty, little boys ever, who are mine.
Today I can say with everything in me that I am going to be a cervical cancer survivor.
And so this begins my story.
I’ll just make sure I’m always armed with lots of waterproof mascara.
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