The Day My World Changed
Have you ever seen black just before you passed out?
Have you ever had the breath knocked out of you?
Has your throat ever closed and you couldn't breathe?
Have you ears ever rung so loudly you couldn't hear?
Has your mouth ever been so dry you couldn't swallow?
Have you ever not been able to feel your hands?
Has your heart ever beaten so fast you thought it would jump out of your chest?
If you combine all these sensations, it might give you an idea of what it felt like for me to hear my doctor speak these words, "There are cancer cells."
I distinctly remember my very first thought.
"How do I tell my two daughters that I have breast cancer?"
On the day I turned 39, I wondered what it would feel like to be 40.
I had always heard the expression "Forty and pregnant."
I surely didn't want to be 40 and pregnant. I was in the midst of a divorce.
I just didn't know I would be 40 and bald.
In the amount of time it took Dr. H to say those four words, my life changed.
At first, I thought everything changed. My world seemed to turn black.
I heard words like mastectomy, lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, double-blind studies, support group, and then I stopped listening. My ears refused to hear.
At first, I thought my whole world would change, but it didn't take long to realize, some things never change. The unconditional love for my two daughters and their unconditional love for me would always be there. . . an even deeper love and understanding like we had never known developed. My family was still my family and my friends were still my friends. There would still be sunshine and rain and rainbows. The moon and stars would still glitter the night sky. The flowers would still bloom, the birds would still sing, and the dogs would still bark. My classroom would still be on the third floor at Central Middle School. My students would still be mine, they would just have a substitute teacher for awhile. Yes, life would still go on . . . with or without me. I had to make a choice whether to throw a pity-party for myself, mope, and be miserable or squeeze every ounce of life out of every minute I had and make the most of a bad situation. I chose the latter. Being a teacher, I knew the importance of being a good role-model. My girls needed their mother and I planned to be that role-model. . . strong yet vulnerable.
And so my journey began.
In the length of time it has taken you to read this post, approximately 3 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer (and possibly a man). Every 2 minutes, breast cancer is diagnosed. Of the next 7 women you see, 1 will probably be diagnosed with breast cancer. If you take the time to read the post again, someone has died of breast cancer. The statistics are startling.
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Scroll down the page to my previous post for more links.