Monday, August 02, 2010

Back story post 20 Aug 2

My husband sat beside me holding my hand as I called the Doctor. As if I was in some kind of a suspended space and time I heard the words none of us ever want to hear – you have cancer and we need to operate. I went silent. I didn’t cry. I didn’t move. After I spoke with the doctor and hung up the phone. I looked at my husband and asked him if the doctor told me I had cancer? I could not believe I just heard those words. Three years into an unstable marriage and I had cancer, would undergo a radical hysterectomy and be suddenly thrown into menopause. I went numb and then I got angry and then I cried and cried. My husband held me and told me he would take care of me. He assured me that he would be there for me but I must say I did not trust him. I was afraid and our life was so unstable but I had no choice but to surrender and accept whatever lay ahead of me.

I did not sleep that night. The next morning I began the horrible task of telling my family and close friends. I waited a week to tell my students and the gym coordinators. There were lots of tears and lots of fear in the faces of those I told. I understood. Everyone backed away as if I could give the cancer to them.

I was fit, healthy and energetic. How could I – a fitness and health nut get cancer? Everyone was shocked. If it could happen to me, well then it could happen to them. And what if I died? No one wants to be close to a person who is dying of cancer. It’s something we don’t like to talk about or face. It is very difficult to ask someone how they are feeling or about their health as they are going through this nightmare.

I remembered a few years back when a lovely woman from the gym was diagnosed with cancer. I did not know her very well so I avoided asking her about her disease, afraid that I would upset her. So I knew how others felt about approaching me. But also knew the loneliness and the isolation. I did not want to be alone with the horrible disease. Although I understood the avoidances because no one knew what to say, I felt the distance. It was as if they could void me out the fear of their own mortality would disappear. We don’t like to look at sickness and death. It reminds us that we are all subject to finality. However, there were those who hugged me and supported me. And those hugs were the dearest and most memorable part of the whole experience.

My family rallied around. It’s amazing how much support and love comers through when you can’t give any back because all you can do is hang on and pray for survival. Your body and your mind are consumed with fear, anxiety and exhaustion. There is nothing in you that can give and yet in the process of surrender and recovery there is so much more you have to give.

I had to face this head on with no choice but to accept and surrender to whatever fate handed me.

Doctor Lynn

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