Earlier I mentioned lessons. Pondering on what we were being taught by the various things we endure. I wondered that thirteen years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
When my fiftieth birthday was approaching I was being bugged to have a physical. I hadn’t had one in years and my mom and husband was adamant that I get one. I scheduled the appointment and even kept the thing. Past visits the doctor had told me that he saw no reason for me to have a mammogram, this time he did. Well, okay, they (the almighty they) recommend having them at forty so being ten years past that why not.
The mammogram came back questionable. I needed a second one. Then I needed an ultrasound. Then, I needed to see a surgeon. Who did her own ultrasound and who suspected. The concern was small, so small it was amazing that it had been seen, but it was there. And after a needle biopsy, proved to be cancer. I told her, she knew what it was, she knew where it was, take care of it.” And so, my battle with cancer began.
Something I never expected since no one in my family had been diagnosed with breast cancer before. AS I said though while waiting for results, there always has to be a first.
Caught in early stages, I had a lumpectomy and several lymph nodes removed. They had to test them, to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread, then after I healed from the surgery, I would need radiation treatments. I don’t know how those treatments did others, but they left me exhausted. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. Every minute of movement was by sheer strength of will.
At the time, I was among a small group of people who submitted weekly editorial type columns to a local paper. I began writing about my experiences with the cancer fight. The surgeon told me that people were asking her questions. Some were frightened by what I wrote, which I never meant to do, but she told me that everything I wrote, was helping. It was getting people to ask questions, in asking they were better prepared for what was coming for them.
Never once, during the entire battle, did I say, “Why me?” I told someone once, that wasn’t the question, the question is, “Why not me?”
The fact that my cancer was caught early, helped. The fact that I was writing regularly at the time, helped. The fact that what I wrote, generated questions, helped. What lesson did I learn? That what seems unfair, horrible, cruel and every other descriptive word you can think of, to me. Teaches someone else. We all learned here. I learned how strong my determination was, and that my words, brought understanding and comfort to others.