So you just moved out of your parents house. You got a cute little apartment and the rent is too high but whatever its yours ( and your 5 roommates) and that’s all that matters! You’re working at a steady job that doesn’t relate in any way, shape, or form to what you went to school for but whatever- its money.
You’re so stinking tired, but it must be from that cold you can’t shake and all the extra hours you’ve been picking up.
One day, while working, you notice how sore you are. You rub your shoulders and feel a lump. What the hell is that? It moves. That’s weird. “Hey Susan! Look at this, it moves!”
A few weeks go by and that little bump won’t budge. You go to the Doctor, they tell you to try not to touch it and to take some Advil.
A month passes and you feel like you need to take action. That sucker is still there. What is it that they say about being your own advocate? “Ya, I should do that!”, you think. In the back of your mind you’re also thinking… “and I should totally do it before I’m 26 and my parent’s health insurance coverage runs up.”
You get sent to a specialist who casually feels you all up and down and you pretend not to be embarrassed. He asks if he can do a biopsy today. Jeesh what’s the rush, buddy? Wait a minute… aren’t biopsies for…
2 weeks later you get the results call from your doctor. You were so nervous at work that you got sent home and thank god you did because this phone call would not have been pretty in front of others.
The doctor asks you if you’re alone or if you’d like to call someone to come over before you talk with him. You beg him to just say it because it’s killing you. Hodgkins Lymphoma he says. He spells it for you. Don’t google it, he says. He talks of an oncologist appointment he’s made for you the next day. You can’t breathe. Suddenly the Earth has lost all oxygen. Your whole body seems to be doing the Harlem Shake without your consent. You call your Mom at work and ask her to come home. Same with your sister, and your boyfriend. Somehow you made it from sitting up to laying down in fetal position. Tears don’t come until you have to look into the eyes of the ones you love and tell them. ” I have cancer.”
This is an abridged and modified version of the beginning of my journey with cancer. While writing it, my stomach began to turn, just as it did on that fateful day in June of 2011. If you’d like to share how your journey started please do in the comments section. Hearing others’ stories and seeing the similarities makes you feel much less alone.