The Big C

October 29 thru February 2005

I’m at work and my doctors office calls my phone. A few weeks ago my insurance called and told me I hadn’t had a pap smear in years and they would cancel my insurance if I didn’t get one. It’s not that I didn’t want too get one, is just that I’m busy all the time. I work full time and the boys always have something going on so I never have the time. I made an appointment and went and they are calling me back.

The nurse tells me they are sending me to a specialist and I ask her why. My heart skips a beat when she says that. She tells me I have cervical dysplasia.

For a moment I am relieved. Cervical dysplasia. My mind goes to hip dysplasia that dogs get and I think maybe my uterus is tilted. Not a big deal. I laugh and ask her if my uterus is crooked. She is silent for moment and says no, that means you have pre-cancer cells.

My gut clenches. I ask her if I have cancer. She tells me I have to come in. I make an appointment and go outside to smoke a cigarette. I’m trying not to panic. Beau is 16 and Wyatt and Drew are 10 and 8. I can’t tell them. Luke is going to panic. I know him.

I tell Luke when I get home that night. He tells me that I don’t have cancer and it will all be OK. I start crying. He isn’t being positive, he has gone straight to denial. I try to talk to him about it and he walks away from me.

I go to my next appointment a week later. There is a language barrier and I understand very little of what he is saying. I read up on what they were going to do to me. He froze my cervix and scraped some cells off. He said there were black cells every where.

I get dressed and go back to the desk to talk to the nurse. She hands me a brochure of conditions of the cervix. The doctor walks by and sees the brochure. He takes it out of my hand and hands me a different brochure. One with information on the stages on Cervical cancer. My eyes fill with tears. I am so scared. I look at the brochure and it says stage one, 85% survival rate. I think to myself that I have 15% chance of death. It only goes down from there.

The nurse schedules me for a biopsy. I have to go downstairs and make an appointment. They have to put me under.

I go home and tell Luke. He tells me again that I will be fine. I know he is in denial and I jump on the same boat. I tell myself it will all be OK.

I’m sitting on the couch helping the boys with home work while Luke cleans up the dinner mess. The phone rings and it is my cousin. Her father is my mom’s brother. Him and his wife divorced years ago and she moved to the Midwest. I haven’t spoken to her in years but she was always like a mom to me. My cousin tells me that her mom had called her three times in the last couple of weeks because she is worried about me and thinks something is wrong. I tell my cousin that I am fine. I send my kids to bed and I tell Luke what she said. It hits me that I have cancer. I have cancer…..

I go to bed right after the kids go to bed and I cry. Luke is now avoiding me. He doesn’t do it to be mean, he just can’t handle it. He is now always sleeping when I get to bed or he comes to bed after I go to sleep. In the middle of the night I wake up and he’s always holding me as tight as he can.

I make a pact with God. I will quit smoking until I’m 60 if he let’s me live. I am 34 years old.

I go in for the biopsy. I’m there for a couple hours. It’s winter and its so cold and depressing. I go home and lay in the couch. I am cramping so bad. I told the kids I came home sick. I get in the hot shower hoping that will help. While I’m in the shower Beau pounds on the door. He comes in and he asks me what is going on. While I was in the shower the hospital called to check how I was doing. He wants to know what’s going on. I lie and tell him I just have women issues and I’m fine. I know he knows I’m lying.

I go back to the doctors about a week later to get the results. On the way to the doctors Luke and I don’t speak. We sit in the waiting room and he leaves to go smoke.

The doctor calls me back. Luke is still outside and I’m glad. I’m so scared and I don’t want to have to worry about Lukes feelings. I walk into the doctors office. My knees are so weak that I have to grab on to the chair to support myself. I’m trying not to cry. The doctors walks in. I can barely understand him but this time I hear what he says. He says “you got lucky. Zero stage,non invasive “. I asked what that means and he said it hasn’t spread. It didn’t get into my organs. I start crying from relief. I thought I was going to die. I ask him what happens next and he says I need a hysterectomy. I’m happy. They schedule it for the next week.

On the way home from the hospital Luke and I are still quiet. I’m nervous about surgery. I know Luke doesn’t want to talk about it. To say it out loud is to make it real. It’s dumping snow and we are in our Corolla. We pull over so he can put chains on. Before he gets out of the car he grabs my hand and looks at me and says that he wishes he could put me in a box so I would be safe from anything bad ever happening to me. I can see the fear in his face.

I need to go into the hospital for a week and I want Luke with me so I have to tell my mom. I tell her that I have Cervical cancer and that I’m going to be fine and that I’m getting a hysterectomy. I need her get to watch the kids. She says OK.

We have never been emotional. We don’t have a conversation about it. I know she loves me but she doesn’t know what to say. She quit smoking right after I told her. I never ask her but I think this was also her pact with God so I would be OK.

The night before surgery I tell the kids I’m having women issues and I’m getting surgery the next day. I never say the word cancer and I downplay it. They don’t believe that I’m going into the hospital for a week. I promise them that I am OK. I have just turned 35.

The surgery went well. My mom and step dad gave me a ride home from the hospital. It was snowing again. I walked in to a house decorated with streamers and balloons. I love my boys. All 4 of them ❤️.


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