A woman speaks to a medical professional, while in the background, the shadow of her face looms over both of them

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.

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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?

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