Breathe in, Breathe out

Written Sunday, March 6, 2016
Today has been an emotional one. It started with my husband and I going to a friend’s church service dedicated to cancer survivors, loved ones gone on by this disease or currently fighting the battle. When we entered the scantuary there were sweet ladies that asked the question “are you a cancer survivor?”
Thirty-four years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. I didn’t even know what it was at the time. My husband and I had one child and with much talking and prayer we decided I would get my tubes tied. It’s not an easy decision to make. Were we 100 percent sure we were making the right decision? No, probably not. But we made it together and an appointment was made.
I went to see my obgyn to talk with him about it. He did a pap smear, said he’d send it off to be analyzed and would be in touch. A few days later, I was called back to his office to have a biopsy of my cervix. My doctor went out of town, I went home and thought nothing else about it. That next Sunday night, my telephone rang. It was my doctor and he had my results. He asked me if I was sure I wanted my tubes tied and I said yes. He said he suggested a hysterectomy because of the cancer that had been so rampant in my Mother’s family. And so the surgery was set, I had the hysterectomy, leaving my ovaries, and that was it. I had no chemo or radiation. At this time, the only treatment other than hysterectomy was to freeze the cervix and there was no guarantee it would be successful. I was 23 years old with a two year old son and I had stage 4 cancer.
I rarely think about that time in my life that I stared death in the face. It really takes someone asking the question those sweet ladies at church did today that will bring it all back. After a few brief seconds, I said “Yes, I am.” I looked at my friend and asked her if she had forgotten I was a survivor and she said she had. It’s not usually the topic of conversation and so it goes on the “file for another day” in my mind. And on occasion, that file gets pulled and I realize just how fortunate I am. My Mama, Daddy, Mother-in-law, too many aunts, cousins and friends to count haven’t been as fortunate as me. I don’t really know why. All I can say is this, I believe my steps are ordered of the Lord. If David and I hadn’t decided to go the way we did, I probably wouldn’t be here today. It was a hard decision we had to make. We didn’t know where the road would take us, but the One that orders my steps knew. He led me to go to my doctor and for that stage 4 cancer to be found and taken out of my body.
This chapter will return to it’s filing place, tucked safely in the corner of my mind, until the next time I’m asked the question.
Yes. I am a cancer survivor.

 

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