The Day That Changed My Life
It still surprises me that it has been almost one year since I began my cancer journey. It truly feels like a jigsaw puzzle trying to remember all the details.
My life changed forever
On May 13, 2020, my life changed forever. The world had just declared a pandemic and we were right at the beginning of COVID. The world had pretty much shut down. But, my world stopped in a way that I was not expecting.
Over the phone, my husband and I listened while my primary care physician read the results that the radiologist provided from the CT scan that I received less than an hour prior. “They say it’s ovarian cancer.” Those were the words; immediately my heart dropped and I responded, “Oh..” and automatically the tears came. I couldn’t control them. My husband rushed to my side and hugged me.
Together, we silently held our breaths as the doctor told us that the next step would be a referral to a gynecological oncologist, a doctor that specializes in, “women’s cancer”. She then stated that she would send my records and I should expect a call within a few days. I don’t know the best way to receive this type of news but to me, this was the worst way to learn that I had cancer.
A rush of overwhelming emotions
Just 12 days prior, May 1st, I was told that the abdominal ultrasound showed a “large mass”. Working as a hospital social worker, I hear the word, “mass” often and I knew immediately that this was not good. But I remained hopeful, I went on with my normal daily activities. Even while I knew there was a mass I still did not think that cancer would be the ending diagnosis.
I am typically an optimistic and hopeful person but that day, May 13th, hope was not something that I had right away. It was like a whirlwind of emotions rushed through me. I can say that I felt sadness, anxiety, worry, and anger within minutes. Why is this happening to me? My mind was jumbled; it could not process what was happening and which emotion to release. I remember vividly saying that I could not “do this”. I felt like my life had flashed before my eyes and it was over.
The day my world stood still
I often find myself going back to that day - the day my world stood still. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that I received that call. It happened and yes, it changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. Now that I am almost one year to the date of the news (and past the one-year mark by the time this article publishes), I can confidently say, cancer was the hardest thing I have ever endured.
Recognizing the growth and strength I possess
But through cancer, I learned an enormous amount of things about myself. The growth and strength that I possessed during that time are unmatched.
There are things that I wish I could redo but the biggest is the way that I managed the news. Yes, crying is a normal response but I would change the way that I told my friends and family. I would have requested to meet with my primary care physician in person. I would have given myself permission to feel every emotion possible because I needed to allow myself to feel. I think I shut down emotionally and it took days before I allowed myself to process the news. I think maybe I was in shock about the entire thing. But I handled the news the best way that I knew how. And now, I can reflect on the past year with a whole new perspective on life.
How does your story relate to ShaRhonda's diagnosis experience?
What stage were you diagnosed with?