Updated: Apr 26, 2022
On June 4, 2020, I received devastating news from my dear friend and PCP. "It's malignant melanoma." I'm sure Mary (I'm not using real names in this blog) said something just before and after those words, but that's all I can really recall. The tears began to flow and I went numb. At that moment, I hadn't processed the fact that skin cancer had made it's way into my breast and what that really meant. After all, I only had basal cell carcinoma surgically removed from my arm one time (2012), I had never received a prior melanoma diagnosis, and I was diligent about my annual skin checks. How did this happen? Did someone at my dermatologist office miss something? Had something developed over the last year? Was the pathology report incorrect? While I was trying to blame someone or something else, I failed to consider that spending my 20's baking in tanning beds-- instead of embracing my pale skin-- was likely the real reason for this diagnosis. It was my fault.
That evening, I sobbed uncontrollably, drank way too much Tito's, and thought my life was over. I was texting and googling in search of someone to tell me this wasn't real, or that there was another explanation. Anything! All that I found were grim statistics, and further confirmation that my prognosis wasn't favorable. I was incredibly confused and frankly, more sick to my stomach than I had been while pregnant with my daughter, Aislin. If you knew me while I was pregnant, you recognize the severity of the stomach upset I'm talking about. The next morning, it still didn't feel real. Yet, the gnawing in my stomach and chest was still present--like nothing I've ever felt before. It was further unsettling that my husband Rick, one of the strongest humans I know, was also shook to the core. He was always the optimistic one, but I could see the uncertainty and fear in his face. Looking back, I believe he had been utilizing Dr. Google as well.
By this time, Mary had already sent CT orders for my chest, abdomen and pelvis, and made an Oncology appointment for me. As this blog progresses, you will see that Mary is one of my many angels here on earth. Unfortunately, the soonest she could get an appointment for my CT scan was 5 days later. That seemed forever away. Then, I recalled that my friend, Gloria, worked at the imaging center. I sent her a text, told her what was going on, and asked if she could help me get in sooner. Two hours later, I was drinking the nastiest alka seltzer-like concoction in preparation for my scan. Gloria is also one of my angels here on earth. This was my first CT scan, so feeling like I was peeing myself while simultaneously having a panic attack, was not a good first experience. I got through it though, and in about an hour, the results were in. The presence of nodules in my lungs--consistent with metastasis. Ugh. Another gut punch. What in the world? My first 24 hours replayed all over again-- minus the Tito's-- and my thoughts darkened. I was consumed with fear and doubt, struggling to accept that I had no control over what was happening, and was again seeking comfort and support from the freaking internet of all places. 48 hours in, and I had already lost 6 pounds. Not good.
Fast forward a day, or two, or three, when I began to think more clearly. Mary recommended that we watch Heal on Netflix, which I give credit for initally leaving me with some hope. I say initially because the real break through came from re-familiarizing myself with my faith in God. Instead of googling cancer prognosis' and symptoms, I began searching for bible verses about healing. The more I read, the better I began to feel. Don't get me wrong, I could still start randomly crying at any given moment like a mad woman, but I began to positively shift my perspective. I starting accepting that I do not have control over my current circumstances; however, I do have control over what I put in and on my body, and what I feed my mind. Instead of dwelling on this silent disease trying to take over my body, I began to focus on healing from the inside out--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I say silent disease because melanoma has still not been found on the surface of my skin (more on that later).
I downloaded a meditation app, stocked up on organic foods and wheatgrass shots, researched the top cancer centers, placed another Arbonne order, and continued to dive into God's word. I know this may seem overboard and slightly manic, but that's how I roll. When I set my mind to something--particularly difficult things--I have the ability to become laser focused and knock it out of the park. Besides, no harm can come from any of it.
Last night, I prayed and promised God that when I get past this, I would share my experience and miraculous healing with the world. That I would give all the glory to Him. Then, it dawned on me--why wait until after I'm healed? So, here I am....armed with the Word of God, faith, exceptional medical care, and the determination to fight with all my being. Please join me for this faith-filled fight. I'm a Survivor.
This song is so special to me. It's my theme song and has a really cool story behind it (more on that later).
Love & Sunblock