It was startling to find, and difficult to confirm. Even though my doctor told me the imagery was clear, I knew that there was something amiss. To appease me, she sent me on for an ultrasound. I had to wait four more weeks to get the appointment, scheduled for late November. And it was there that the radiologist decided to err on the side of caution, taking six core samples to be sent off for biopsy.
Prepping my dinner table the eve before Thanksgiving, I took a call from the hospital. Pathology results were in.
It was a Thanksgiving of blessings. Gazing at the faces of my many loved ones, I formulated a plan: take whatever steps necessary to steal my good health back.
I had surgery two weeks later, expecting eight full weeks of radiation to follow. But pathology from surgery showed more problems…the margins weren’t clean. Malignant cells had been left behind.
Back to surgery one more time, this one scheduled for Christmas Eve. My surgeon felt it was important to move quickly, so the holiday took a back seat.
Christmas Day was a day of blessings. Looking at the faces of my children gathered around me, I saw the road ahead with acute clarity. I expedited the healing process.
New Years Eve I took at call in the last hours of daylight. My surgeon identified herself by her first name. It took me a moment to understand, but then in an instant, I got it.
My husband wasn’t yet home from work, so I reached him on his cell phone to suggest we meet up at a local spot for a festive drink together. Let’s ring in the New Year a few hours early, I suggested.
The pub was packed with revelers, all in good cheer as they sat at tiny tables sharing appetizers and raucous laughter together. Spotting a quiet corner, I grabbed a newly vacated table for two and waited for his arrival.
His eyes lit up when he spotted me. We spent two hours talking about a thousand things, as we’d always done throughout our twenty-five years of partnership together. I waited until he was finishing his third glass of wine before I broke the news.
With an incredulous stare, he struggled to retain emotional control. I reached across the small table and held his hands firmly in my own. Listen to me, I said. I’ll get through this. It’s doable…it’s just body parts. I can live without body parts.
Sometimes the most unexpected journeys teach you the most profound lessons. For example, if you simply keep your eye on the horizon, you can travel just one day at a time. By doing so, statistics on travel time become irrelevant because the only timeline you’re on is the one you choose to manage.
The horizon is always there…just waiting for you to arrive, no matter how long the journey. Don’t look back and most certainly don’t look down.