The Day My World Shook

 

  The ground shifted under my feet, did she say cancer? No, there must be a mistake. I just came in for a check up a few days ago…life was normal. Did she say cancer? No, she has me confused with someone else. Things like this don’t happen to me. I must have looked at her like she was speaking in a foreign language, because she just looked back and didn’t utter a word. I felt her touch the top of my hand…I snatched it back like she sent an electric charge through my skin. No, don’t console me. She was wrong. Do I look like a cancer patient? No. I do everything right. I am kind to people. I watch what I eat. I exercise. I pray. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen to people like me. I keep muttering to myself…what did I do wrong? I spoke a little too loudly. She responds as if I am asking her the question. She says there is often no explanation as to what causes a woman to start producing cancerous cells. Did she say cancer again? I shake my head in disbelief…will someone make her stop saying that?

  She asks if someone was with me, because we needed to discuss treatments. Of course no one was with me…this was just a check up. Treatment, did she say treatment? Ummm, how do we get rid of it?  She smiles. Why was she smiling? There is no cure for cervical cancer. No cure? Okay, yeah, I knew that. Breathe…don’t forget to breathe. Do not pass out. I ask her, “Why do I have cancer”? She gives me the generic, “there is no way to know why exactly”. She went on about genetics, diet, and other contributing factors, but wrapping it up telling me that it may be none of the above. Why am I asking dumb questions? I know all of this. Wait, am I going to die? I almost couldn’t see her expression, blinking through my own tears. We are going to try and get it under control before we have to think about that. Try? Breathe…don’t forget to breathe, Wait, don’t breathe too hard…you are going to start hyper ventilating. It’s going to be okay, but you have to get a grip on your emotions right now.

  She starts telling me that she wanted to try and freeze the cells…but the disease is too progressive. We have to do a biopsy to see exactly what we are dealing with. My mind starts spinning. How did I get to this place?

  Two weeks ago I was in my friend Lisa’s car with our kids. She had asked me to go to the pediatrician with her. We are on our way home from the doctor and a dump truck ran a red light and turned across our lane from the opposite direction. It was like a cartoon…in slow motion. I remember saying to her…”is he going to stop”? He didn’t. He hit us head on. I remember my face hitting the dashboard a few times, because her car was old and only had lap belts. I remember lifting my face off of the dashboard…my eyes were closed. Did I pass out; maybe for a minute or two? Everything was still. When I lifted my face, blood was pouring out of it. I couldn’t let them see me bleeding, they will panic. I crawled out of her car. I was walking, although I am not sure where I was walking toward. A woman stopped me, she was afraid to touch me. I could barely hear her voice. Was she whispering? No, my ears are ringing. She asks me to sit down on the side of the road. She says she is a nurse from New York. She asks to check out my wounds. But I asked her to please check everyone else first. I sit down and put my face on my knees. There was blood all over my shirt and the upper portion of my pants were soaked in blood. I am feeling my teeth…okay, they are all here. She comes back and says the blood on my daughter’s head was not hers, but mine. I hear an ambulance. A guy I know stopped to check on us. He didn’t realize I was hurt until I lifted my head off of my knees. He saw my face and it looked like he was going to pass out too.

  I couldn’t get my mind together; my girlfriend had to answer the E.M.T.’s questions. I couldn’t remember anything about my health. She kept looking at me asking if I was okay. I could see her mouth moving; but I was looking through her. Did that dump truck driver really hit us? Why didn’t he try to stop? Luckily some guys ran him down and forced him to pull over. We would learn later during a court appearance that he was half blind, and was supposed to wear thick eye glasses. He wasn’t wearing glasses on the day of the accident. He could have killed us. We were lucky. For the most, all injuries seemed superficial. My face was severely bruised, so much so, that on my first doctors visit the nurse asked me if I was a domestic violence victim. Both of my eyes were black and blue. My face was swollen; my lip was cut open too. There were bruises on my thighs, ribs and across both of my breasts.

  It was the bruises on my chest that prompted me to visit my ob/gyn. I wanted make sure there were no lumps or anything like that since I hit the dashboard so hard. Now I remember, my doctor asked if I wanted a pap smear while I was there. I can recall thinking, no. But for whatever reason, I said yes.

  A week later here I am…living with cancer. My doctor said there was no telling how long I had actually had it. She said it could have been dormant in my system for a while, and the accident could have jarred something in me…causing it to spread.

  How do I go home and explain everything that my doctor just told me? I have cancer. I kept saying it over and over again in the car. I thought if I said it enough that by the time I got home that I could say it without crying. I decided instead of going straight home; I would go to see my sister. I needed a safe place to go, where I could fall apart…just for a minute. I just needed a minute. I kept praying all the way to her apartment…please God…let me have this one minute.

  I barely remember her answering the door. I just remember falling into her. She was confused. She kept touching my face, looking for a new injury. She was talking so fast…I couldn’t answer her. My mouth wouldn’t move. Finally I told her that my doctor said that I have cervical cancer…and I just fell apart. She kept saying NO…over and over again. She was crying so hard; I could no longer determine who was consoling whom. I told her that unless the treatments worked before it started spreading further…I might die. And she mustered up all of this strength and told me that wasn’t going to happen. She said she wasn’t strong enough to live without me, so there was no way that God would ever take me first. It wouldn’t be until this past year that I understood the truth of her statement, when she died unexpectedly.

  She was an angel to me in that moment. She went with me to tell my mom and the rest of my family and friends. It was no longer me having cancer, but us having it. During the entire ordeal, her faith and strength never waivered; she continued to be the glue that kept me together. I would end up having several rounds of radiation treatments. It would spread into my uterus before it finally went into remission for good.

 

  I wanted to share that experience with you, not to be entertaining…but to show you how God has led me to this place. I have always known that God will use me to shine light on issues…and hopefully we can all grow from it. Our Creator has a divine plan for us all and He uses experiences and circumstances as tools to guide us…and if we are paying close attention we can use those experiences to help one another.

 

  I wish you all peace and pray that you will continue to love one another…as God loves you.

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