Saturday, October 8, 2016
They were calling my name. I laid the magazine on the table and went into the exam room. It was time for that infamous February mammogram. What I did not know or understand was that the next few minutes would change me and my life forever.
Weeks later, I found myself returning to that small waiting room. I was searching for the magazine that I had so leisurely thumbed through. I was searching for HOPE. HOPE that my life still had meaning, that I would be "okay" as I journeyed through unknown territory. The magazine was nowhere to be found. I would have to find my HOPE somewhere else, somewhere deep inside, somewhere I had never been before.
It's been six years now. In some ways, it almost seems as if it were a dream. Or perhaps, it happened to someone else. In a sense, it did happen to someone else. There has never been a single incident in my life that so drastically changed me. It was a nightmare of making decisions and undergoing treatments. It was a defining time when I realized who my family and friends were. I was surprised, hurt, and shocked by people who had been a part of my life for a long time. Many of them had no idea what to say or what to do.....so they did nothing.
I tried to be strong. I only cried a few times because I was afraid it would make me weak. I didn't want to worry the people closest to me so I kept my innermost fears and pain inside. Some nights I would wake up shaken with fear and fright. I learned to talk myself through the anxiety and I learned to make peace with death. I learned to understand that people could hold my hand, but at the end of the day, this was a journey that I had to walk alone.
I learned more about breast cancer than I ever thought I would know. I learned about my body and my limitations. I tested myself more than I should have just because I had to prove to myself that I was stronger than I ever dreamed possible. I learned that as long as we have HOPE, then we never really lose. I learned to always believe in myself and that its really alright to cry. I learned that all those "bad things" don't just happen to other people and there are no absolutes in life. And, through it all, I learned I was blessed beyond measure.