I didn’t feel so lucky when the diagnosis was cancer.
Less than 24 hours after being told I had a cancerous tumor in my kidney, I was scheduled for gastric bypass surgery. Well, that wasn’t happening now. All the hard work I had put in for 9 months was out the window. I had planned this surgery so that by the Summer, I would be well on my way to a new, healthy, slimmer me. I had plans. Big plans.
I actually like to exercise. I especially like walking. But it has to be outdoors, preferably some place scenic, woodsy, near water, a nature path. I had found several places that I walked that really fit these requirements. I had a book of nature paths that ran in Lincoln, Lexington, Concord. When I walked, I often took my camera. I like taking nature pictures. I was pretty good at it, too. Hiking and photography seem to go together like birds of a feather!
You need a goal. And I had one. My goal was to go hiking in the White Mountains and stay in some of the AMC huts that are located in those mountains. I wasn’t planning on a big hike, just something manageable to start with. The Fall was my plan. Not hot, not buggy and God knows the most beautiful time of the year to be in the mountains. This had me written all over it. And in the blink of a routine CT scan, it was all gone. And it still is…but that’s part of the story that comes much later.
So when I got the big C diagnosis, I had to first tell my family. This would be hard. At this same time, my brother in law was experiencing advancing prostate cancer. He had already beaten throat cancer and then BAM, he was told he had prostate cancer. This too was manageable and had been under control for about four and a half years. But now things were changing and his cancer was getting worse. How do I call my sister and tell her that I have cancer too? Well, there is only one way and that is, pick up the phone, make the call and just say what it is. No beating around the bush. Cancer is cancer and I have it.
Remember when I said I was lucky? Well, here is where that was really true. The kind of cancer I had would only require the removal of my kidney. I would not need chemo or radiation…at all…ever. How does that happen? So on the surface, this was GREAT news. But it ultimately took a huge toll on me. More on that later…
How do I tell my sister and her husband the “good” news about my cancer when he was starting to fail. His cancer was advancing and all I had to do was have a little surgery and I’d be fine. Such mixed emotions. But I made the call anyway, told them everything I knew and assured them I would be fine. I could handle this…by myself. Or so I thought.