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The Dreaded "C" Word

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

By Stephanie

Those dreaded words, “You have cancer.” I remember everything about that day. How I went in and knew in my gut that this was cancer. I checked myself every month and the month prior, exactly to the day, the day I had my yearly there was nothing there. Low and behold a month later after coming home from vacation I felt the lump. I immediately made and appointment with my PCM. A few days later I saw her. She said wait a week and if it wasn’t gone to go forward with the ultra sound.

Fast-forward three weeks to my ultra sound. After they looked at the ultra sound they went straight to the mammogram. My tech said “Oh my gosh it looks like there is a party in there.” And I could tell it wasn’t the kind of party that I usually like. Immediately my thoughts went to “This can’t be terminal. I can’t die! I have a husband, four year old and two year old at home. This can not be happening.” After that everything that was said was as if I was Charlie Brown listening to his teacher. My voice in my head was so loud it was truly hard to hear anything else.

For approximately a month I cried daily. I was going through the motions, but not living. I still feel guilty about that time. I took care of my kids and the home, but I wasn’t engaged. The reel of “How bad is the cancer? How far did it spread? Do I have time? We are military I take care of everything while he works, how am I going to do that?” and about a million other things went through my head at a speed I had never experienced before. In every sense of the word I was a Zombie who cried and walked around with dread, doubt and fear.

I stopped running. The one thing that was for myself, I quit. My thoughts were “People with cancer don’t run. They are sick constantly and fatigued. They can’t run it will make them worse.” Looking back I wish I had done better. Being a military wife we just forge on and we are the ones picking up the pieces. Now I was the one who needed someone to come pick up my pieces that were crumbling by the second.

The one thing everything above has in common is fear and lack of knowledge. As a society we have stigma of cancer. We have what we think we know or just what we have experienced. There are so many layers to cancer that I never knew. Heck I still don’t know all the layers. But once I had an understanding of what I was dealing with things became clearer. Once I decided I was going to do everything possible to stay alive those voices in my head became quieter.

If I could go back to that time I would tell myself you have a choice, everyday is a choice, it may be fighting your way every moment, but you can and will do it. And fighting isn’t always you standing with a brave face. Sometime you are on your knees crying AND THAT IS OKAY. The other thing I would say is reaching out to someone who has already gone through this will be a game changer. The loneliness, fear, confusion etc. will get smaller and quieter. You will feel stronger and dig deeper. And most importantly if you are reading this YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Say it with me again, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We are here for you and will help fight beside you. You’ve got this!

What do both of these pictures have in common? Both are someone with cancer.

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