Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two Years

Chemo brain erased a lot of my memories, but that first discovery will never disappear. I remember the day I got married; being told I was pregnant with Allison; the birth of my children; and being told that lump that was nothing was actually cancer. It will be two years ago next month that they found the nothing cancer lump.

It's funny how vivid that memory is of going to the doctor's office after receiving that phone call. At one point there were three nurses, the doctor, plus Tom and me all in the little patient room all at once. It felt like everyone was talking to me at once except Tom. Anyone who knows Tom knows that he has an opinion on most anything and he's not shy about telling it. If you tell him something he didn't know, he'll happily look it up on the internet and confirm what he was told and also to become more knowledgeable about said subject. He's a smart guy and I depend on him to keep a clear head and know stuff that I have never had any interest in.

Sitting in that room with Tom, it wasn't hard to not remember that his mother had died of breast cancer only a few years before. I knew he had to be thinking about it and I knew he had to be knowledgeable on everything and anything breast cancer related. Heck, in my mind, I figured he knew more than the doctor. So, while I was sitting there hysterically crying and hearing words like mastectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy - I was also waiting for Tom to speak up and say they were wrong. Seriously. Especially when the word chemotherapy was thrown around - I KNEW Tom was going to say no way!

If you've never read my entire blog (shame, shame, shame on you!) you'll remember that they originally told me the lump they found was only 7 millimeters big. I hate the metric system; I'm really not sure how big that is either, but they tell me it's small, ok? So, I was thinking to myself that, well, first they got my chart mixed up with someone else, and secondly that I was NOT going to have to go through chemo for something that tiny. If nothing else Tom wouldn't stand for it. But there he sat quietly. Tom was quiet. I know a lot of you who read this do not know Tom, but trust me when I tell you that the man doesn't stay quiet. Tom can have a two hour conversation with a mailbox - especially if that mailbox was a non-believing liberal politician (God, help it.)

As we were leaving the doctor's office, I was quite peeved with everyone...especially Tom! How dare he let them talk about doing those horrible things to me! Of course I was still crying and I asked him why; why didn't he speak up for me? It was simple he said: Lou (his mother) died of metastatic breast cancer. And then he said what I didn't know: she refused chemotherapy after her right breast was removed. He will always wonder if just going through the hell of chemotherapy would have saved her life. Any option and treatment they had for me, he wanted me to have. It was truly a matter of life and death.

Almost two years ago my friend Paul reached out to everybody I'd ever met in my entire life and begged them to pray for me. His sister Mary Beth, who lives in California, told everyone she's ever met in her entire life to pray for me. My best friend Julie cried with me. My brother called me (trust me that's a big deal!); my aunts and uncles sent gift cards for food; my cousins sent me gifts and took me out shopping; my Dad came and lived with me for months while I suffered through chemo; my church sent wonderful meals; and my mother directed everyone she knew (and probably didn't know) to my blog, and let me know how proud she was of me for being so strong. I think everyone I ever went to school with and worked with sent encouraging emails (shout out to Aaron, Ronnie, Kiva, Jim and Amy.)

I could go on forever thanking people for their gifts and prayers. Two years ago I got the worst news of my life. Two years ago I found out how many people in this world love me and it leaves me in awe.