On Thursday, I learned I have a lump on my vocal cords. It could be a cyst or it could be cancer. By this time next week, I will have had tests, surgery and a biopsy, and I will know. So I’m left sitting here wondering, how do you wait to find out if you have cancer?
I *might* have cancer. Now what?
I debated what to do about this news, to hold it tight or share it. To keep it private or seek support within this community full of wonderful people. I have been thinking about social media a lot lately, even before I learned about my current predicament. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram get a bad rap for creating a false sense of connection, but I would argue the opposite. When I moved to Houston, my first friends were because of Instagram and my blog. I have stayed connected with friends and family back in Canada through social media. I have made new friends through this medium and I think my online connections are just as valuable as my IRL ones. So, for me, sharing this news in public is just part of my authentic way of using social media. I couldn’t keep it a “secret” from my blog and online community any more than I could keep it a secret from my kids. This might not be the way you would do things, but it suits me. In fact, blogging about it is incredibly helpful. It is already helping me to process my thoughts and feelings.
Besides, I just can’t spend the next week blogging about fashion, food, and cocktails and trying to put on a sunny disposition, so normal business around here is on hold for the time being. I’m scared, y’all. I’m 44 years old. I don’t smoke. Yes, I enjoy wine and cocktails but not to an extreme (and not at all from now on, for the foreseeable future). This has blindsided me. When I first noticed my voice was a little hoarse several weeks ago, I googled it and of course Dr. Google told me I had cancer but I passed it off as cliched. I figured I would go to the ENT and be diagnosed with nodules or allergies. I didn’t think it could actually be cancer… It could.
I am still waiting to confirm all the details but it looks like I will have to wait one week for all the everything to be done. Meanwhile, I’m going through what I assume to be normal thoughts and feelings… I need to write down all the user names and passwords for my husband. I want to hold all three of my kids all the time. I don’t want to eat or drink anything besides water; I can’t bear the thought of that tumour inside my THROAT. I don’t want to talk; every hoarse word is a reminder of what it might be. Haven’t I had enough hardships? Why is God giving me this to bear? Thank you God for giving it to me and not my children. How do others manage not to complain about their suffering? I don’t have it as bad as others. Did I do something to cause this? Who by worrying can add a minute to their life? But HOW. How do I NOT worry?
I want to just sleep for the next week then get the finding out over with, and then take the next step. But I can’t do that. Any mother knows, we have to keep life going. And so, here’s my plan of how to get through the next week…
As far as I’m concerned, Google is in the dog house. I did allow myself one little search then closed the browser. I just can’t. Even if my doctor already “knows,” I need to wait for facts before proceeding. I need to battle for the positive attitude that is proven to have an impact on these scenarios. I believe in miracles, and I want to leave space for miracles – big or small. That can’t happen if I fill up all the space with googled information.
Keep Up Routines
I do not want to do anything. I can’t concentrate. I don’t want to do laundry or cook dinner or keep my commitments for the next week but I am going to force myself to keep up my routines. I am an Occupational Therapist after all; I understand the value of daily occupation. Keep on keeping on. This is not a time to concede to my wants.
Distraction is a Beautiful Thing
Routines will help keep the mind occupied but so will some good TV. And podcasts. And books, if I can concentrate enough to read. The more time I spend thinking outward, the less time I spend fighting the urge to “what if” myself into full-blown anxiety or depression. This isn’t going to be a productive week, and that’s okay.
Friends are The Best
Distraction gets extra points when it involves good friends who understand me and my situation. I am so incredibly blessed to have a tribe here. They’re ready to support me however I need. They’re ready to insist or wait, to not judge me for anything past or present. I cannot overstate how grateful I am to them, to you, to my family and friends in Canada. I need you and I love you.
Prayer is The Bestest
I believe in the power of prayer so the greatest honour anyone could do for me during this next week and beyond is to pray for me. I am praying too. I am reading God’s promises and I have faith. I believe all things will work together for my good, but I also know that does not mean I will be cured or healed. I want to honour God in how I handle this situation (even if I am a little mad at Him right now).
My daughter told me last night as we cuddled before bed, “When we are scared, that is a chance for us to be courageous.” She’s right of course. God help me be courageous this week and during whatever comes next.