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.
Oh my word, I Love YOU!!! Romans 8:37! I add the word scary in parenthesis to this verse. Bearing your burden with you as you wait. May you live life to the fullest while you wait. Because you are more!
You too my friend! That is one of my fave scriptures – MORE THAN CONQUERORS! You hear that, throat?!! Thank you so much for prayers and support!
I have been following you for quite some time – my girlfriends and I have become avid VV shoppers thanks to you and we have a lot of trouble paying retail now. You have taught us so much about sustainability etc and for that I am so thankful. I just wanted to let you know that your blog and tweets and instagram make a difference. I know whether or not you have the big C you will come through this -I am many sending healing thoughts and well wishes along with many others I’m sure.
xoxo I’m getting all teary! Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! That y’all have become thrifters makes me SO HAPPY! I am overwhelmed by the support and appreciate every bit of it.
I went through something similar a while back and it’s so hard to keep life “normal”. It turned out to be non malignant, but waiting for the biopsy was not fun!
Praying for you! God loves you, and everything he puts in your path is good!
So true, and I do believe that God will work things for my good, but I’m hoping that will be through a negative result. I’m sorry you had to go through it, hope you had tons of support and so glad it was benign. I appreciate the prayers so much. xoxo
how awful! nothing worse than waiting for a result.
sending you all the positive vibes and virtual hugs from #yeg
appreciate it so much! Hopefully this will all be behind me soon and I can reflect back on it whilst sipping a nice GT. 😉
Waiting is so hard. I will be praying for you.
Waiting has never been my strong suit (!) so maybe this will be an opportunity to grow my patience and faith. Thank you for the prayers. xoxo
I have no words, but I’m right here with you. What you are going through is hard. Be kind to yourself.
That is good advice and I will take it (as I sit and stare at the laundry and let my kids have too much screen time). Thank you for your comment and support! xoxo
I know it is a cliche these days, but I truly mean it when I say you are in my prayers.
Well in this case, Dr. Google taught me that cliches are sometimes true. Thank you for your prayers.
Hugs from your aunt. Wish I was closer. There are no good words, just know you and the tribe are in my heart.
Love you lots.
love you too, hopefully it will turn out to be nothing and I’ll feel both silly for asking for everyone’s prayers and thankful that those prayers were answered (the way I want them answered) xoxo
I too will be lifting you up in prayer. This is something that is not under your control, but I’m glad you know the Lord and that you are in his hands and everything is under his control.
I would be lost without Jesus, especially during times like this. Thank you so much for your prayers! xoxo
I am praying for you! Psa lm 91 is a go to, as well as Ephesians 3: 14-21.
Thank you! xoxo I will pray those scriptures throughout the week.
My prayers are with you – both that it is not cancer and that you get through the wait! I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
Thank you so much! I am hopeful and every prayer means so much to me.
Oh, Nicole. My heart hurts for you and your family. May God be near to you all through this next week and beyond. You will be in my prayers. Houston is one of the best and biggest medical centers in the world, and there are so many talented professionals here in your backyard. Maybe that will be just a bit of solace on this difficult journey. Prayers for some peace for you in these next few days.
Thank you so much. I hope the result is negative but it’s not lost on me that if it isn’t, Houston offers world class treatment. I feel very blessed to have such support. xoxo
That is a great suggestion! hee hee Y’all DO know I have plenty to choose from. Your prayers mean so much to me. xoxo
Thinking of you Nicole and praying for you. I follow you regularily and find great joy in your posts on life and thrifting. My daughter had a large tumour scare when she was 13. The wait for biopsy results and tests was excruciating. Going to the darkest place can be so scary and frightening and google is not advised. I feel though that going through that gave me a new perspective on life to appreciate more every day and to not sweat the little things. I pray that you get your miracle and if you don’t then know you have a community of people supporting you each step of the way
Thank you so much, it means a lot. I’m so sorry your daughter and you had to go through that – it is scary but you’re right, the scare alone is enough to renew one’s perspective. I’m already regretting all my bemoaning about not being able to practice OT and wanting to go forward with greater contentment with my current situation. I am so grateful for all the support. xoxo
As I read all the comments, the one that sticks out is “there are no words”, you mind must be churning non-stop with endless “whys, what ifs, and what now” Just breathe, slow that powerful mind down and know that you are surrounded with so much love, light and support.
It’s true – it’s better to avoid thinking in words for the time being. I am quite overwhelmed and grateful for all the support! xoxo
When in doubt, go thrifting! Sending strength your way.
Thank you! Thrifting is WAY cheaper than the US health system!
Isn’t that the truth! I’m uninsured, so it’s always the double whammy of health and money worries. Hopefully it turns out to be a temporary scare and nothing more. You know you have a ton of thrifty ladies (and probably gents) in your corner!
Holding you in prayer…for strength, courage, and patience in this trial of life. Wear something beautiful everyday because you are beautiful inside and out!
PS I thought of you yesterday at the district ECS meeting…
Thank you for the kind words, prayers and support always! I miss you! Wishing you a great year ahead!
Take care of yourself and I hope the distractions help the time pass more easily. Sending love to you.
Thank you so much! I will take all the love gladly!!
I am praying for you. Hopefully it’s nothing. No matter what, may God fill you with strength and faith and sweet relief from worry.
There is a prayer out there to Mary, mother of Jesus, in the sense of asking for her intercession to her Son, to receive healing for illnesses, especially cancer. I have found it on the internet 14 years ago, when looking for such prayers. It may not be needed in this case (fingers crossed) but I have found it helpful. There was a time when I and others in my family have read it quite often.
Of course, any prayers to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit help!
Many well wishes from a blog reader!
Thank you so much! xoxo I trust God hears my prayers and all those of people supporting me and just have to trust in the outcome. Thank you for reading my blog. I value every one who does.
Also I wanted to add that many, many such health scares turn out to be really nothing at all! So that’s very important to note.
Dear Nicole, I am sorry to hear this news, but as a survivor myself I am not worried or scared for you. I waited almost a month for diagnosis, and I know how scary it can be, but you have a good plan and a strong faith and you will be OK.
Please make yourself the main priority right now. You have given your family your best for years and now is time for you to let them care for you. There may be a journey ahead that will tax your strength, and you will need support if so. Please learn to receive.
Sleep, prayer and meditation are all good ways to pass time without worrying. It’s trite but true that a health challenge can strengthen and beautify us in ways we never would have expected.
From you friendly 8 year survivor still going strong, I know you are protected and loved and will be just fine, whatever the path that you may travel. Sharon
Sharon, your reassurance is just that – reassuring. Thank you for your confidence in my situation and your words of wisdom. I definitely have to work on receiving help, and I also want to ensure I keep giving in some way. Receive and give, as was the takeaway from church this morning! I appreciate your comment so much! xoxo
This Unity prayer has always been a solace to me. Sometimes I just repeat it over and over to block unwanted thoughts:
The light of God surrounds me,
The love of God enfolds me,
The power of God protects me,
And the presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am God is, and all is well.
I will copy this into my inspiration note! xoxo
Nicole, I’ve had cancer twice, breast in 2010 and ovarian in 2015. All I can add, besides my prayers, is that nothing is as bad as what you are imagining. If God brings you to it, He will help you through it. Amazing progress has been made in cancer treatment, and it’s not as horrible as it used to be. If the news is bad, take one day at a time and have faith in God and your doctors. You can do this. I really really love you and your blog. I need you and all your fun advice. Hang in there Sister-in-Christ.
Oh goodness I am sending positive, healing vibes in your direction as I can feel the burden in your words. Thinking of you and praying for the days ahead of you. I do follow a young mother diagnosed with breast cancer on instagram and she has a blog. She’s coming out of the otherside now. Kelseypardonmyfrench! Maybe her blog and experiences can help you even a tiny bit!
Followed her. Thanks for the recommendation! What a lot of burdens there are in this world. Sigh.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Speaking from experience, the waiting was the hardest part for me. When I knew it was cancer, I could switch into a different mode where fighting and surviving became my motto.
I Will be thinking about you!
Hey, I’ve got your back, too, and agree w/the good suggestions you’re getting: wear your fun clothes, keep doing the routine, welcome any/all distractions. Hopefully you’ll come out of this just feeling a little shaken up and more focused on self-care, right? I know it’s impossible not to give in to the worries, but really try to go easy on your sweet self for a few. I’m doing a little “Please let Nicole be okay!” in my heart. Hang in there. I’m a big fan of your posts and cheerful enthusiasm! And Google is the worst way to scare yourself.