To My Dear Hubby,
Well, today my love, I have some bad, good and great news to share. Brace yourself as best you can, and hear my sincere message. The great news is that our baby is fine, 8 weeks in my wound and growing as designed. Our child will experience a bountiful life filled with joy and parents that love him or her. Everyday of my life, I will live like it’s my last just as my mom did before me. She will have a father who respects her and adores her. I heard a quote one day this week that said something like “death is a bookend to birth” so I guess it’s fitting that for some odd reason that I must balance both. I know my next words will be as hard for you as they were for me, but I have held them for three weeks hoping that they just weren’t true. The results of my biopsy are back and the doctors have confirmed that our scariest thoughts are true. It appears that those lumps in my left breast are more than just plain ole cysts. I wish I had the ability to tell you to your face, but now that I am beyond denial, I want to reassure you of the road ahead, and the steps that I will take to be here with open arms when you return from the desert.
Like my mother heard, I too have witnessed the words that will forever tarnish my soul. I am writing to you the words that I cannot say with my mouth and especially because our Bible teaches us that “Life and Death are in the power of the tongue”, I will only speak of our life. I know that this scripture is traditionally used in a different context, but please know that I will never EVER give up, and I will never shrink back. As the doctor said “Please sit down, I am sorry to say, the lumps in your breast are malignant.” I knew what he was saying – without even uttering that one word – that C word! God forbid – at that very moment, I had a crisis of faith, a drought of hope, an unbelievable feeling of helplessness, then panic. You know my dear, as we are apart and you are fighting to protect our country soooo many miles way from me, please know that I do feel helpless without you, but I will do my best to fight a good fight, just as you have taught me. I promise in the end that I will win!
The good news, if there is such a thing, is that I now have a new perspective on life. Basically I understand that words like breast, lung, heart, ovarian, cervical or colon are innocent body parts, until they are compounded with that C word, then their meanings change. Their issues compound, and they deliver a type of fear that runs a daily marathon with a person’s emotions. I never quite thought that two words, much less one could rock my world so dramatically, and trust me, I didn’t even hear in totality what the Dr. had to say. But I heard enough. Since, I’ve learned that sometimes that C-word comes disguised as a single more complex word like Leukemia, Astrocytomas, Melanoma, and Mesothelioma, but truth be told – single, compound, or complex – they all mean the same thing… Essentially, YOU, wonderful, caring, philanthropic, selfless, honorable person have been handed either a death sentence or a life challenge. I know that I am a good person, and everyone around me knows this, so I can’t help but wondering why me? Needless to say, my deer – I have chosen life. My Dad always said “Life does not give exemptions or promises of perfection to any one; we are all subject to good and bad”. Now I truly understand. Well, my mom will be relocating here this week and I have joined a support group.
The doctors say that I have some hard choices to make, but I want to be perfectly clear – I will do whatever it takes to live and to see my child grow up. I don’t want to hurt the baby, and timing couldn’t be better. After the first trimester, chemotherapy and other treatments become viable options. The doctors say that some patients have lived for ten years with this awful thing. The doctors say there is some hope even though I, at times, feel so hopeless? Sitting in that office, with those ugly white walls…I swear they were taunting me, cursing me.
In my support group, they tell stories of plenty of people that have won, that have beat the odds, and we have to re-tell these stories to encourage ourselves:
Today’s testimony was about James “Rhio” O’Connor and his journey with Mesothelioma. This disease is typically associated with exposure to asbestos. After receiving a dire prognosis, he took control and he decided to live. Instead of accepting the fate laid out in front him, , to fight. He lived six years longer than the doctors said he would. He researched, went to the library religiously and studied this cancer that wanted to destroy him. He learned new ways of fighting, ways not even his own doctors knew about. He learned of new treatments and ways of battling this horrible cancer. I want to do what he did, and I want to fight with the same strength and fervency. If he can live six more years, who’s to say that I cannot live sixty.
The National Cancer Institute says that breast cancer occurs once in 3,000 pregnancies. Annually, approximately 190,000 women will be diagnosed with and 40,000 women will die from breast cancer. I always thought that I was special, but these are statistics that I want to overcome. As my mother has proven, this disease can be beaten. There are basically 5 traditional therapies: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, targeted/biologic therapies, and hormonal therapy. For the sake of life, I will do them all! The doctor says that given my factors, the preferred yet most extreme option is a mastectomy, total breast removal. The mastectomy doesn’t require radiation so there is no harm to the baby. Along with this, in later trimesters, chemotherapy can be given that uses agents with minimum risks to my placenta. I will need an extra amount of prayer and some supernatural courage to go through with this therapy. My mom will be here, so please don’t worry. Any non-traditional therapies can be pursued as required, and if required, I will have other options once I deliver our healthy baby.
I promise, I will beat this beast that is growing in me. I will search every blog, go to every library attend every seminar, talk to every doctor, and rally every woman I can find to learn everything that there is to know about Breast Cancer. As the song says “ain’t no mountain high enough, no river wide enough, no valley low enough” to keep me from being with you, and to keep me from finding a cure. I am no scientists, in fact you know that I am terrible at science but I will learn every scientific fact and term that is relevant. I will have every surgery, every treatment, and drug available to beat this thing. In 6 months, when you are home, I pray to have news that is great, great, great!
I’ll love you always,