Fear is a powerful mind fuck. For over two weeks I found myself in the grips of fear over my mammogram results. My first appointment was canceled and instead of me searching for the silver lining, fear dug it’s claws in deeper. I promise I can feel the undiagnosed cancer spreading through my body. I was angry that I allowed three years go by without a mammogram. I was dreading the devastation that cancer would wreak on my family.
Friends and family were trying to be an encouraging force in my life, but I couldn’t get there mentally. I know many you are thinking, “Char, with your family history why in the da hell would you not stay current with you screenings for breast and ovarian cancers?” My response is “Girl, I know!”
To understand is to know where I was in 2014. That entire year I was sick as a dog. It wasn’t until August the doctors discovered a grapefruit abscess on my right ovary. I was admitted into the hospital and the original plan was try to shrink it with antibiotics, but on day two it ruptured. Long story short I had emergency exploratory surgery and spent a few days in intensive care and after two weeks was released on more antibiotics.
I went home on bed rest and finished the rest of my meds. Three weeks later I got up ready to return to work and the vomiting started again. I called my mother who made the executive decision to go to the hospital where my doctors worked… back to the hospital I went. This time a concrete plan was created with me and my surgeon that would attempt to save my left ovary and uterus, but there was a chance a full hysterectomy would be necessary. So on October 9th (day of my 10th anniversary) I had surgery to remove the golf ball sized abscess and right ovary. Needless to say I left that operating room without my right ovary and uterus. I was cut open for the second time in 4 weeks and fourth abdominal surgery in 12 years.
With all of that said, I was able to walk away and after all my post op appointments, I needed a break. I needed to find some control over my body. To say what, to say when and to say who touched my body.
On December 6th, I laid in a cold room with my right breast exposed waiting to hear my fate. The tech had stated that more then likely I won’t see a doctor until after all my results were reviewed and my husband and I would get a full consultation. So after waiting 30 minutes my imagination got the best of me. And even though my husband and dear friend sat in the waiting room texting funny jokes, I was cold, alone, and scared. I wanted my mommy. I needed her experience and her presence to assure me that no matter what, she was going to be there and I was going to be okay. Later maybe I can explain why my mother wasn’t there.
When the sonogram tech returned with a doctor, I immediately went to I had cancer and it had spread through my lymph nodes. The doctor took a look herself, stood up and stated “Mrs. Mu’Min, we were able to identify the area as elongated duct. You’re fine, make sure you take… blah blah blah.”
“I’m cancer free?”
“Yes, ma’am… as I was saying… blah blah blah.”
The rest of what the doctor stated faded to background noise. I was standing (technically laying) in a space of gratitude. As I went back to retrieve my clothing from the spa like locker room, I sat in my dressing area and wondered why I wasn’t able to find a space in gratitude throughout this experience. On that day I promised to always look for the light no matter how dark or bleak things appear. I realized fear can be a great tool if used properly, if fear isn’t propelling you forward it can be a weight. So while weight over time can make us stronger, we have to survive to see its benefits.