Cancer Won’t Kill Me, The Grey Will

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” -Morris West

Four days after my thirty-something birthday, during a routine examination, I was told there was a problem. This wasn’t the first time. My thyroid was now the next in line of abnormal cells and suspicious ultrasounds. I won’t burry the lead, I’m fine, for now.

I thought the “hurry up and wait” portion of my life was over after a failed marriage to a United States Marine. Yet, here I ago again, waiting. After several yearly checks resulting in “we’ll keep a watchful eye,” I decided to quit keeping watch.

I spent the majority of my twenties as an advocate for my own physical health. Determination, discipline and drive, led me to huge weight loss and fitness milestones. Despite any personal set backs, I eventually rebounded, stronger. But, was it all for nothing?

The room was quiet and beige. I was told to lay still as the radiologist affixed the surgical drape to my neck. The ultrasound would help guide him, the proverbial X, marking the spot. Lay still I told myself again as the biopsy needle pierced my flesh. Remember, don’t swallow, the mass will move. My over anxious saliva glands were quickly trying to drown me on the table.

It would be one day shy of three months from that first appointment before I would get the all clear on my thyroid. For three months, I tried to keep a stoic front, from my coworkers, friends and family. For three months I tried to ignore the three centimeter complex nodule that had formed near my windpipe. The ultrasound on my breast several years ago was nothing compared to that quiet, empty, beige room. Then too, was I lucky enough to get the all clear. But, until the doctor gives you those words, you live in limbo, you live in the grey.

Just days after my husband left for basic training, at only 22, would be my first fall into the grey. It would take four more evaluations of abnormal cells and years of waiting for the other shoe to drop before I would stop checking. Essentially the doctor reassured me that my body would clear of the abnormal cells on its own or we would handle it once it progressed. I have skipped the last two years of checks. If I ignore the problem, it doesn’t exist right? I may have traded my health for fractured peace of mind.

Today I made the appointment to face my fear, to face my body. I can hope for a definitive answer, a black and white as opposed to more grey. Regardless of the outcome I have stopped waiting for the storm. I will come to it.

Connect with The Inkwell Files by leaving a comment below about a time when you had to rise above your own storm.

4 thoughts on “Cancer Won’t Kill Me, The Grey Will

  1. I don’t know you super well, but I am grateful that Allie introduced us. You are amazing. When I was 30, I was told I have cervical cancer, and ‘it’s not a big deal.’ UH. Bruh. No. Not okay! He didn’t do a biopsy to make this declaration. Crappy doc is crappy. /sigh. The ‘storm’, though, that I am dealing with, currently, is much, MUCH worse. And it isn’t a physical issue. It is a mental health one. I have C-PTSD. It is not something I advertise, but I am fairly open about discussing it if it comes up in conversation, and I’m asked directly. You did, in a roundabout way, ask about it, when you put out about ‘what storm’. 🙂
    So, I’m in my early 40s. I’ve been recently diagnosed with C-PTSD (within this decade), and it’s been a huge pain in the ass to try to work through everything. I tend to look at the BIG picture, rather than, ‘What can I tackle now,’ to chip away at things a little at a time. Not healthy. Recently, my beloved priest and I were talking on the phone about the horror fest that I was raised in, and he offered the suggestion of a book that I’d read many years ago, but didn’t even realize is still a thing. It’s called ‘The Courage to Heal,’ and he asked me if I’d heard of it. I told him yes, I had. I used to have that one and the workbook that came out not long afterwards, but years of moves and whathaveyou, it got lost in the sands of time. I am happy to tell you that after the crap-tacular year I have had (seriously, 2018, wtf!), I got to the point where I feel like that little kid, Ralphie, from ‘A Christmas Story,’ the scene on the playground when he gets hit in the face with the snowball and just goes completely mad with rage and decimates his bully. LOVE that scene! I am totally Ralphie after one-too-many daggone snowballs!! I am as aggressively as the rawest parts of me are willing to afford, dealing with my traumas (there are several) but in a controlled environment. I have a WONDERFUL counselour, and I have my beloved priest and a friend that is -thisclose- to his ordination. Both of these men are like my spiritual Dads. That is how much their presence in my life means to me. They have kept me grounded in my faith in God in ways that I cannot explain in words. My counselour, also a Christian (she’s Protestant, but eh, no one’s perfect HAHA! Kidding. She’s wonderful), has been tremendously helpful, too, in helping me work through things.
    I went through a full-blown breakdown seven years ago. I can’t afford to go through that again, you know? I’m trying really, really hard to keep up with things, the best I’m able, with the limited capacity I have. Here’s hoping I can train myself to chip away a little at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

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