Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking Back on D-Day

      I remember the exact moment I was told I had cancer. It was on a Wednesday at 3:21 pm. The news was delivered by my surgeon, Dr. Burns, via phone call because he knew how much trouble and stress I was having over applying & then, immediately, being denied a Medical Card. Yes, that's right, I was facing a disease that could ultimately kill me but I had no insurance - thanks Human Resources! A college graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology; an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice, but alas - no insurance. I remember him saying, “Lisa, you do not have to worry, you WILL,without a doubt, be approved for a card.” I ignorantly replied “but Dr. Burns, you don’t understand…I was there yesterday and was denied…” before I could finish he spit it out “Lisa, the biopsy of the tumor came back positive for malignancy, it's something called Adenocarcinoma” “Adeno what?” I said trying to catch my breath. “It’s cancer, the tumor was cancerous.” I tried to speak but no words came out. I tried to breathe but, still, I couldn’t catch my breath. I handed the phone to my mom as tears began streaming down my face. I literally fell into my sister’s arm and began sobbing while gasping for breath. The only words that could come out of my mouth were “I have cancer. Why? Why do I have cancer? I have cancer.” The next thing I knew I was upstairs waking up Chad from an afternoon nap. This particular week was the longest and most exhausting week of our lives. From the colonoscopy/biopsy on Monday to the diagnosis on Wednesday felt like years. As soon as he saw my tears he knew. He took me in his arms and began to kiss my forehead, “We’ll get through this…we get through everything. I'm here, I love you, I'm not going anywhere and neither are you”. After a few moments of an understanding silence, we went back downstairs where my mom was still on the phone with my doctor. I sat on the couch and immediately across from me was our family memorial of my brothers and Gram, all who had died in the duration of the last 7 years. I thought “oh my God, am I going to be in there too? I don’t want to die, I’m not ready to die, I didn’t do anything wrong.” My mom hung up the phone and sat beside me on the couch. I could see the tears she was trying so hard to hold back. “It’s ok baby, we’re going to get through this; with chemo, radiation, and surgery, we will beat this. Look at this family and what we’ve been through…we WILL get through this too. You have 3 angels up there who will be at your side the whole way through”. My angels…John, Jay, and my Gram. For some reason, that statement gave me a hint of peace. I felt strangely close to them for the moment, it was as if they were in the room with us and we were a whole family again, but in the blink of an eye, I was brought back to reality. At 26 years old you wouldn’t expect that you would want your mom to hold you, but I did and I didn't want her to let go. She opened her arms and I fell into them at the same time. For a second I went back to my childhood, where everything was butterflies and boy band crushes, not cancer or death. We spent the next hour crying, trying to laugh, and just being together. My family, my support system was there for me, and this was just the beginning.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer ever forgets the moment they heard the news. It was Tuesday Nov 18th 2008 at about noon. I had just gotten done with a colonoscopy and was still groggy from the meds. The Dr who performed the colonoscopy came and sat by me and my husband held my hand and said you have cancer. I guess from my reaction to that news she said "you already knew that didn't you" I said well not for sure but my "inner voice" was telling me yes. I may have been in shock, but I broke down later that night at home and fell asleep crying into my husbands chest.
    And I cant imagine how our husbands must have felt. Hearing that your spouse has cancer and there is nothing you can do to make them better had to have been hard. I'm sure it is still hard for them and our families too...