“You have a nodule in your lung.” my doctor commented after a routine chest x-ray revealed a shadow. “Not to worry though, many people have scar tissue in their lungs.”
Thus began a eight month journey that I had never expected at the beginning of 2018. Needless to say, I was somewhat anxious but I comforted myself with my doctor’s words “many people have scar tissue.”
Next came a CT scan. “Indeterminable,”was the answer from the doctor, “we will schedule a PET scan.” My anxiety began to rise.
Then a PET scan. “not really clear.” was the answer from the doctor, “but we are sending you to Roswell Park (a nationally renowned cancer hospital in Buffalo). My anxiety burned a hole in my chest.
Meeting with my cancer surgeon, “You have a carcinoid tumor in your lung. We will do luung resection surgery and remove only the tumor.” Terrified was the only word I could use to describe what I felt. I had never even been in the hospital before, let alone surgery.
One day before the surgery I took a walk with my dog through the cemetery behind the house where I live. There were two graves being dug that day. I thought that they would be digging a third soon, for me.
I don’t remember most of pre-op, the surgery, or the recovery room. I do remember the chest tube, the being awakened every couple of hours, and recovery. And I do remember not wanting to be in the hospital more than one day and happy to leave.
Recovery was two weeks and I was eager to return to my work.
Then my follow up appointment. My surgeon informed me that the type of cancerous tumor I had was rare and only showed up in 20% of patients…lucky me, I was one of them, (I would have preferred to win the lottery with those odds). “We will need to do another surgery and this time preform a lobectomy and remove the lower lobe of your right lung.” I cried that night, and fell into a dark, consuming depression, thinking that I was going to die.
Almost a month to the day I had my second surgery. This time I was in the hospital for three days and out of work for a month. Recovery was slower, but the love and support I had received from family and friends was amazing.
Last month I went to my Oncologist and she said there is no need for radiation, or chemotherapy, “you are cancer free. And it should not come back.” These are the words I was waiting to hear. Yet, always, and every day in the the back of my mind, a small voice whispers,”what if the cancer comes back?”
But God has given me a second chance, a new beginning, and has opened my eyes to all that I have. I have began to embrace living this new opportunity, and not just exist, taking my life for granted.
Good changes are coming, it is a new day.