When they called and said they found something on my mammogram, tears filled my eyes. Then I told myself it’s nothing; my mom and sister have fiber cysts so I probably have them. I went to my second mammogram thinking they would find nothing serious. I had nothing to worry about. I just inherited a fiber cyst. It wasn’t until after my second mammogram my heart plummeted. I sat in a chair while the doctor’s words rang through my ears, “We found masses that are highly suspicious. I’m not going to lie to you: there is a high chance of cancer. You’ll need a biopsy.”
Tears poured from my eyes and the words, “High chance of cancer,” played in my mind like a broken record. I cried on my way home and in my husband’s arms at home. My biopsy was scheduled for the following week, which to me seemed liked far away. I had to get through a week. How could I do that? Did I have the strength? Then after the biopsy there would be more waiting for the results.
This had to be a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. It couldn’t be real. God, let me wake up. Do high chances mean I probably have cancer? Would I lose my hair? Would I have to take time off from work? Would I get really sick? I can’t do this. I can’t fight another battle. I’ve faced bullying, I struggled through mental illness, I was a victim to abuse, and I worked my way around a learning disability. I’ve been through enough. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t face another battle.
My insides ached while the days slowly went by. I felt myself sliding down the hole of depression. I grabbed onto the roots of hope and I dangled between the light and darkness. My hands were slipping and the light was fading. My mind raced. I wanted to scream and yell. I wanted to hate God. I wanted to let go and fall to the bottom again, but I couldn’t.
“Think positive. Everything is going to be okay. Whatever it is, we’ll get through this together,” my husband told me.
“It’s nothing. Stop upsetting yourself over nothing,” others told me.
My thoughts went crazy. The doctor said high chance of cancer. Don’t tell me it’s nothing. Don’t tell me not to get upset. I have a right to feel any way I want to. My life is over. I can’t fight another battle. I can’t do my job. I can’t go on.
Then a voice within me said, “You can’t give up. You have overcome so much; why let this ruin what you have worked for? You don’t know its cancer. If it is, you will rise above it.”
I felt the darkness deep in my soul again. I hadn’t felt this sad in a very long time. It was sucking the life out of me and I couldn’t allow it to take over again. Not over a “chance.” It wasn’t a confirmation. It was just a maybe or maybe not.
So I started journaling every day and in my journal I wrote, “I DON’T HAVE CANCER.” I turned to my friends and got in contact with breast cancer survivors. I declared war again on my thoughts. Every time I thought, “I have cancer. I might as well give up,” I changed it to, “I don’t have cancer, and if I do I am strong and I will beat it.”
The darkness started to lift. I asked my friends to put me on the prayer chain at their churches and my husband worked hard to keep me busy, like taking me to baseball games. At night I prayed long and hard.
Wednesday I went through the biopsy. It was long and extremely uncomfortable, but everyone was kind. I wanted to cry during it, but I held back my tears. They took two biopsies using a mammogram. I was there for two and a half hours. I was unable to take my anxiety medication at the normal times. I prayed to God to keep me calm, and I made it through without having an anxiety attack. Afterwards I went home and slept for two hours and cried quietly into my pillow. I cried not out of sadness, but out of relief that this part was finally done.
Now is the waiting for the results part. I’ve decided to continue to write in my journal and still write each day, “I DON’T HAVE CANCER.” I’m going to stay busy until I get the results. A friend sent me small cards with a Bible verse on each one. So each day I’m going to read them. Faith, strength, and determination will keep me above the hole. If the results are good, Lou and I will celebrate. If I have cancer, I will fight with the same strength I fought my mental illness.
Whatever happens, I am a fighter and I will rise above whatever lies before me. God willing, I will be celebrating when I get the results. Until then, I will fight to stay positive and stay within the light.