It was July 22, 2015, when we found out Keith had colon cancer. The doctor called us on the phone after a routine colonoscopy. We were standing outside in the yard when I put the phone on speaker so we could both hear what he had to say. It was seventy-hundred degrees, and sweat dripped down our foreheads as we listened. Adenocarcinoma. The rest is history.
If you’re unfamiliar with Keith’s cancer journey, I can tell you that it’s over now, and he won. WE won. It was a harrowing experience, to say the least, and one that left us both with quite a bit of PTSD.
Fast forward to August 23, 2022…
I got a mammogram a few weeks ago. You might remember my post encouraging everyone to go get one and take a proactive approach to good health. Then earlier this week, I went for a follow up.
After having received a call that my original results were “inconclusive”, I made my appearance as directed at the diagnostic center ready for new scans. I had assumed that the pictures were blurry or too dark and couldn’t be read. Fine. I put on the low-budget, slightly-too-small robe I was issued (are there no robes for fat girls with big boobs??) and made my way to the room with The Boob-Squoosher 3000XL.
That’s when I learned there was a spot. The nurse mentioned it casually as if I knew. But I didn’t. In that moment, I found out I wasn’t there because the original pics were blurry. I was there because they found a spot of concern on the left side. (Cue the aforementioned PTSD.)
They took more scans “to get a better look at the spot”, and then I waited, seated in a highly uncomfortable chair in what could have passed for a broom closet, until they evaluated the scan to see if an ultrasound might be in order. This spot was becoming a thing.
I waited a long time.
Sure enough, now the doctor wanted an ultrasound, so off we went. I got to see The Spot on the screen. I watched while they inspected it, sliding the paddle thingy through the gel, measuring it and taking frequent pics from all angles. Then I was told to wait while the doctor decided next steps.
I waited a long time.
Keith and I texted back and forth. He was prepared to come to where I was.
“Don’t worry momma, we are badasses”
“Wish I was there with you”
“Regardless of the outcome, it’s very sobering.”
Out of nowhere, a nurse popped in and said I could get dressed. She handed me a piece of pink paper with instructions, a big black check mark placed in the “Probably Benign” box. I was told to come back in six months for additional scans to check it, to monitor how I felt, and to note any changes I might notice. Just like that.
You know, it’s funny how your brain works. My brain quickly recognized it was about to confront one of a few scenarios – benign nothingness, further testing, or potential breast cancer. I had been told I would get a result before leaving, and this whole mess with The Spot had gone on way longer than “ah, it’s nothing”. The possibility of it being “oh dear, something” was ramping up right there on a random Tuesday.
Then, in such a moment of receiving a “Probably Benign” result, I didn’t know whether to rejoice or melt into a puddle on the floor. Because it had taken so long, and the concern had been growing, I had been mentally preparing for life-changing news. I was kind of ready.
I love my family. My husband and kids are the best, most loving, hard-working, compassionate, care-giving best friends and teammates I could have…plus, we are warriors. I am covered. I love Jesus, and God has blessed me, protected me, built me back up after a many fall, and always provided. I am covered there, too. I am surrounded by a legion of beautiful, kind souls who support what I’m about, what I do, and how I go about it. I am more than covered on that end. My precious work team kicks butt, is wildly creative, and is fantastic at what they each do. I am covered at work.
Had I found myself suddenly facing breast cancer, I was ready to ammo up and come out guns ablaze. I worried about the mental health of my own kids and that of 300+ others at the studio. I was already coming up with plans and perspectives. I was already analyzing my life, ensuring I was living right and had been living right. I was already evaluating my purpose, how the whole mess could be used for good, and how I could help people. I was already pondering whether I use the 525,600 minutes I am given in a year to the fullest and how I could do that better.
Ironically, The Spot remains. It’s still there, but apparently it is not deemed such a threat that my life would change forever starting now. Instead it remains as a reminder that I better stay on top of my health and pay attention to my body, both of which I’m learning to do better. It’s a reminder that I better be making the most of my life, loving big, and not wasting a single moment on one iota of foolishness. And it’s a reminder that life is fragile and short and MUST be lived without fear, inhibition, or regret.
Pray for The Spot and me, and I’ll pray for you. How about that? Let’s be busy living the best lives we can BEFORE a dumb spot has to remind us to get it right.
“We are good.”