Call me “Victor”


Last year around this time, I went to the breast center and had a biopsy on the lump that I had found and then had been confirmed by mammogram and ultrasound. The memories of that day are so vivid. It’s a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. On that day, my life changed forever. It was on that day that I found out that I was about to go through the fight of my life.

After the biopsy came surgery and then the port placement a month later. Four days later I started the first of six rounds of chemo. There were two five day hospital stays in the mix, one of which included the ICU. There was six-and-a-half weeks of radiation, five days a week. There were spans of days when I couldn’t get out of bed. There were days I was so restless that I couldn’t lie down, sit up, or stand for longer than a couple minutes. And there were nights I thought would never end.

Chemo almost killed me and cancer changed my life. It showed me how strong that I am. And it put everything into perspective.

Today I returned to the breast center for the follow-up mammogram. I had no idea that it would be as emotional as it was. There was fear. There was a sense of loneliness. There was that pukie feeling in the pit of my stomach. I walked into a room full of women wearing pink gowns. All of them had their full head of hair and I did not. They looked at me and you could see the fear in their eyes. You could see their worry, and their pity. When you have cancer, people feel sorry for you and they don’t want to be you all at the same time. It has never been so evident as it was today.

I sat there in the chair, holding my phone, texting my friend for support and trying not to let the other women see me crying. I noticed that old re-runs of “Home Improvement” were on the TV. Why in the world was a room full of women watching “Home Improvement”??? I went back to my phone. My friend had asked if I wanted her to come. Yes, I did, but I didn’t tell her that. They called my name.

The room was cold, of course. They always are. The mammography tech was soft-spoken and I could tell she was as nervous as I was. It seemed like it was taking forever to go through the questions and get the computer set up. Finally it was time for the scan. I didn’t punch anyone, which is saying a lot. J I asked when I would know the results and was informed that I would know something before I left that day.

Ten months ago I found out that I was about to go through the fight of my life. Today I found out that I won. Call me “Victor”. I wanted to jump up and down. I wanted to shout. I wanted to cry. I felt like I could breathe again.  I felt like the turtle in a picture I saw a few days ago. He’s slowly making his way across the sand and back to the water. That’s how I feel. I’ve been out of my comfort zone for so long. This journey has been long and hard—the hardest thing I’ve ever done–but I can finally almost touch the water where I can swim freely.

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