February 18th, 1998 3:00 p.m. Todd & I sat at the doctors office after I had been ran through a battery of tests.
"We have the results of your tests and we believe you have cancer. It is likely a lymphoma."
I honestly don't remember everything after that other than we cried and cried some more. While we suspected something, I don't know how you can be prepared to hear those words. The doctor was excellent in the way she cared for me and for my husband. I'll never forget that. She gave us time alone but yet came back with a plan for retrieving a biopsy and did so with a lot of compassion and hope.
That day forever changed my life. It changed my family. I was 30 years old with 3 children 8, 7 and barely 3 years old. Todd had recently changed jobs. Todd & I cried a lot at home in our quiet hours. It was so much to think about for just the two of us, let alone how to handle the emotions of the kids and their schedule with what would be our soon to be schedule.
Surgical biopsy, more testing, and a diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma started a hard core regime of chemo. A new normal set in with every two weeks of chemo and 4 days of not so pretty stuff. Blood draw & check ups every week. I received my maximum life dose of chemo in 8 months. I learned a lot about endurance and perseverance....or so I thought.
February 1999, I was told the cancer had relapsed. Endurance and perseverance became difficult. Mental stability was difficult most days. All I had was hope. Hope that the 50/50 chance I was given would be the right 50%! Life drastically changed for my family as I was admitted to the hospital for a stem cell transplant and spent 45 days there, mostly in isolation.
It was - hands down - the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
This year is 15 years of being cancer free. Remission! It's also been 15 years of remembering something I can't forget. Sometimes smells trigger nausea. Trips to the doctor bring on anxiety. Deaths bring out the survivors guilt. Cancer changed my thinking about situations. Life. People.
Not only did my husband never leave me, my God never left me. My only hope I had came from knowing that if I lived, God performed a miracle. If I died, I would spend eternity with Him. Neither one could I really turn down. I'm looking forward to my 15th year of survival.
All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.