This seems like a strange topic to kick off my new site with, but honestly it’s the main thing on my mind these days. This post is more for me to get this off my chest and on to “paper” than anything else. The last 6 weeks have been a complete whirlwind and have changed my life forever. From the time I went to the doctor, to now, it’s been 6 weeks. In that time period I’ve been both diagnosed with and “cured” from colon cancer. Whew. Here’s how it all went down…
Back in March, I saw a doctor because I was having some strange issues (I won’t go into detail due to TMI :). I felt pretty stupid when I left though because his recommendation was that I simply needed more fiber in my diet and sent me on my merry way. I proceeded to feel worse and worse and have more and more issues until finally in August, I got up the nerve to find another doctor and made another appointment. This doctor had me immediately set up an appointment with a gastrointerologist and within days I was telling my stories yet again.
I was starting to get tired of hearing myself tell the same things over and over but felt like finally someone was taking notice. Luckily, she did! She thought perhaps I had a couple things going on and ordered an endoscopy and colonoscopy for a week later, on the same day. Ok, we’re at what, about 2 weeks now? I won’t go into detail about the horror of getting a colonoscopy… essentially the worst part is the day leading up to it. Although I did lose a couple pounds from my liquid only diet. ;)
I was actually feeling more excited than nervous about having these tests done. I just wanted to find out what was going on with my body, and hoped that these tests could shed some light. My worst fear honestly was that they’d do all these tests and still not know what was going on. Well… that definitely wasn’t the case. Almost instantly after starting the colonoscopy (I was awake), the doctor found a growth. A GROWTH. WHAT?!?! A growth. fuck.
The growth was about 5cm in diameter and the doctor said it had to be surgically removed whether it was cancerous or not. Whoa. She said it… she said cancer. Ugh. I could tell by the tone of her voice and the way she spoke that she was concerned, and quite serious. I found out later that she was my same age and I think that freaked her out a bit. She also had me get a CAT Scan that very day. They wanted to see if there were other growths in my body… they wanted to see if it had spread. (breathe… breathe… breathe…) I also set up an appointment with the surgeon for Monday (which was the same day as the beginning of the SEOmoz Seminar in case you were wondering why the hell I wasn’t there :).
That same Monday when I met with the surgeon, I found out that the biopsies were inconclusive but that the doctor felt 99% sure it was cancer. Again with the “C” word. Luckily the CAT Scan came back fine… if it was cancer, it didn’t look like it had spread. Halleh-fricken-luya! I wanted to get this growth out of me quickly. I didn’t want to give it time to live in my mind and grow and become something. Obviously this would just be growing in my mind, as it’s been growing in my body for a while. But I didn’t want to get to know it or to have it define me. So it needed to come out… cancer or no cancer, get the hell out of my body.
The surgery date was set for a week later. At this point I had told my family, close friends and most of my coworkers. But on the day of surgery, I decided to tell the world. I realized that saying it out loud helped me to get rid of it. It was as if every time I told someone about what was going on, I felt a “whew, it’s going to be ok” sentiment. So I tweeted. And I updated my status on Facebook. I wasn’t sure what kind of reactions I’d get, but I was definitely not prepared for the sheer outpouring of love, concern and positivity I received.
My family was by my side the entire time. My husband waited with me until right before they wheeled me into surgery. I was in the hospital for 4 nights and my dad slept next to me every night. While my husband and mom spent each full day with me in the hospital. I got texts and emails and tweets and Facebook messages from close friends and from people I’ve never even met before. Every message I received, put a smile on my face. It meant the world to me to have such a huge support system.
The days in the hospital were pretty rough and I was mostly out of it. I happily pushed the button every 8 minutes to get drugs to ease the pain and drank liquids for 6 days total. On the morning of the day I was hoping to go home, the doctor FINALLY had the results from the tests. I had had stage 2 cancer. The lymph nodes all came back negative around the area, which meant it didn’t spread. THEY GOT IT ALL. He said that. The doctor said that, and I turned around to hug my dad but his face was in his hands. He had tears rolling down his eyes with the biggest smile on his face I’ve ever seen. I was happy and freaked out at the same time. This was the first time they had been able to straight up say what the growth was. It wasn’t just some random growth anymore, it was cancer. And it was no longer in my body. Buh bye sucker!
The doctor said it would take 3-4 weeks to heal but honestly I didn’t believe her. I thought I’d be back working right away. I mean come on, I work on the interwebz. :) But honestly, it kinda kicked my ass. It humbled me. I had to stop and smell the roses a bit. My husband Rudy helped a lot with this. He reminded me to breathe and meditate and think positive. He was my rock.
Now this is about the craziest thing I might ever say… but I think this has been the best thing to ever happen to me. I have a new lease on life. I get a do-over and I don’t plan on wasting it.
All I can say to anyone who happens to read this, is that if you think something is not right with your body, don’t sit around and wait. Get it checked out. What if I had waited? I know that in the future, when I get lax about eating healthy or I don’t want to exercise, I’m going to remind myself of that day when I this thought went through my head: “What if I don’t get to see Eva grow up?” That thought right there will keep me going.
I’m tired and tomorrow is my first day back in the office. I’m going to end this here with a quote I read in my Whole Living magazine: “…healing is less about battling illness and more about nourishing life“. Words to live by. :)