Down the Rabbit Hole
How do you live with cancer? Very carefully. If you’re a survivor, I know that brought a smile to your face.
If you are reading this, you or someone you know has been deep in the nightmare called cancer. You hear the word almost daily and for some that can make it lose its meaning. From commercials on TV, to the story lines for some of our favorite shows and movies, cancer is everywhere. I know I became desensitized to the word. Until, that is, it came threatening my life. And that’s when I learned that cancer is real and cancer ‘splatters’. Cancer doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed. It impacts everyone around you.
Here’s my story…it was the fall of 2012 and I was experiencing some back pain. I went to the family doctor and we treated it for six weeks with muscle relaxers, steroids, and anti-inflammatories. None of it helped. After pleading for an MRI, I was finally given a back x-ray and then a CT scan. But, that excruciating pain I felt wasn’t caused by something that muscle relaxers or pain meds could solve. It was caused by tumors that had actually broken my back in two places. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Breast cancer?” I thought. How does breast cancer do this much damage? It turns out that it had spread all over. And I mean all over. It was in both of my breasts, my lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, lungs, and even my bones. It was so bad in my legs and pelvis that I was put in a wheelchair for fear that I would shatter my bones and not be able to receive chemo.
After being diagnosed, I really felt like Alice in Wonderland and I had fallen down the rabbit hole. Everything was coming so quickly because the cancer was very advanced and I was extremely overwhelmed. How could I have had a ‘clear’ mammogram in May but have cancer all over my body by September? I had no idea that cancer could be that aggressive. It didn’t even give a girl a fighting chance!
But during this nightmare, I was blessed in so many ways. I was able to get into a great oncologist who made me a top priority. A revolutionary new drug had just been released a few months before my diagnosis. And I had a wonderful husband and two sisters who walked this horrible nightmare with me. They came to every doctor’s appointment. They took care of me in those awful nights after chemo. They were actually able to make me laugh during treatments. And they lifted me up in prayer to our Lord.
Now, four years later, I’m still here. And my cancer isn’t. I get my antibodies every three weeks. I get my CT scans every eighteen weeks. And I am grateful for each day that I have been given. If you have been recently diagnosed or have a loved one who has been recently diagnosed, I pray that hearing my story may bring you hope. I know that having cancer is never on anyone’s to-do list but there is hope. There have been great advances in medicine and I keep praying for a cure. During this awful journey, may you find blessings too and may the Lord give you strength and restore your health. God’s blessings to you.