Once you receive the “cancer call,” your life is never the same. Every plan and dream become frozen because you’re no longer the person you once were. That one call changes the course of your life.
My cancer call was 4 years ago yesterday, 9/14/15. I didn’t think I would be contacted so quickly because I’d had my biopsy on a late Friday afternoon on 9/11/15. It felt wrong and scary to have a biopsy of the mass in my left breast on such a nationally tragic day. Yet, I wanted to have my biopsy on a late Friday afternoon so I could go home afterward and not think about work or anything else. I was told the results would be available within 24 to 48 hours. Since I was the last patient of that day, I was expecting results either Tuesday or Wednesday.
So, when my cell rang at 3:05pm that Monday, I instinctively knew I should answer it even though I didn’t recognize the number. When I flashback to this memory, it’s like I’m suspended above my work cubicle watching everything unfold.
I see myself running down the hall into an empty conference room.
I see my eyes filling with tears yet widening in disbelief.
I see my hand shaking while holding the cell.
“Megan-Claire, you have Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. We don’t know the stage yet. You need to get a pen and paper and take some notes because time is of the essence.”
Those words changed the course of my life.
Much has happened since that day. I had started to make a list but got nauseous as the list went on and on and ON. Some have an easier cancer path than others. Mine was not and is still not easy.
I’ve blogged about survivors’ guilt in the past, but it’s never far from my mind. Once you’ve received a passport into cancerland, you meet other patients across all types of cancers that you never would’ve met in your non-cancer life. I will always be grateful for the friendships I’ve made and continue to make.
The part I still can’t wrap my head around is death. I’ve posted numerous pictures of me smiling through the pain and giving a bird’s eye view into cancerland. The one view I’ve never shown is seeing a fellow warrior die from their cancer. I’d never seen death up close and personal outside of family until then. That’s why I struggle when people tell me I should be happy I’m alive and not let cancer define me. Heck, I hear those comments from other warriors, too.
I have friends who have died and are currently dying. Some have years or months. Others have weeks or days. I carry a little piece of them with me. They have become part of my story, too.
Then I have friends outside cancerland who I never would’ve crossed paths with if it hadn’t been for my cancer diagnosis. Some are still in my life and others are not. Like that saying goes, some people are meant to be in your life for a moment, a season or a lifetime.
I’ll never forget the days leading up to and the day of my cancer call. It forced me down a path I wasn’t ready for and continue to fight.