The results from my pathology are in.... I HAVE CANCER!
Oh wait...we already knew that. Ok, so the results indicate that the tumour was T3, meaning it had grown through the wall of my bowel, but had not infected any other organs. They took 21 lymph nodes out and one, possibly two, had cancerous cells. There is, however, no sign of metastasis (spread to other areas of the body). I am told that overall these findings are very promising. If my research is correct, then I have stage IIIB cancer. I will need chemotherapy, which in all honesty freaks me out a bit. After I received the news, I sat down and cried. A friend from university with whom I connected tonight put it perfectly, "It offends my youthful sense of immortality." She is currently recovering from having 3 tumours removed.
She really did nail it on the head though. This whole situation has "offended my youthful sense of immortality." I think about the fact that it has been just over 3 weeks since I was diagnosed with cancer. Since then I have the cancer removed by surgery, over a week of recovery, and a complete pathology report stating the need for chemo. It's a lot to absorb in such a short time. I know life can sometimes be turned upside down in a moment, but it's never been so clear to me than it is now. I suppose the same would be true if a close family member was killed by a drunk driver, or if my spouse was injured at work and left crippled, or if I lost a child. Things can happen so suddenly, but do we ever really expect it to happen to us? Are we constantly fooling ourselves into believing that we are the lucky ones that all this bad stuff doesn't happen to? If we didn't live in that state of denial, then would life even be tolerable? Could you imagine walking around for the rest of your life constantly dreading the fact that something bad could happen to drastically change your life in the blink of an eye? I don't think I could live like that. It's our sense of hope for the future that keeps us going. If we lived forever in the "what if's" then life doesn't seem to me like it would be worth living.
Chemotherapy is such an unknown for me. I've heard stories of people going through chemo with no problems at all, but I've also heard the horror stories. It's not so much that I fear being "sicker than I've ever been before in my whole life" (which doesn't really even happen that often with the new therapies available), it's just the simple fact that I have to do chemo. I guess I'm in denial. I guess I never expected it to get to this point. When I was told that I "for sure" had to do it, the reality of my situation hit so hard that I just couldn't hold back the emotion. The "what if's" had come true for me. At least for this situation.
I am so fortunate is so many other ways. As my pastor said, we need to remember that there are always people worse off than us and there are always people better off than us. We need to keep things in perspective. I have so many other positive things in my life that I know I'll be able to breeze through this chemo stuff. The positives will keep me going. The constant encouragement from friends and family will keep me going. Chemo Shmeemo!! I kind of feel sorry for any remaining cancer in my body, because I am going to beat it down so hard that it won't know what hit it! Wahooooo!! Let's do this! Chemo, here I come!