February 15, 2005 was a day that forever changed my life. I had been for a routine mammogram the week before and received a call back. I was told that something was wrong with the machine and another picture was needed. Okay, I can do that.
During the followup mammogram, I was asked to go to another room for a further image. Oh, okay, I can do that. As the image was appearing on the computer screen, the nice technician went from smiling and joking to total silence. “Excuse me, Mrs. Henderson, I will be right back. One of the radiologists needs to speak with you.” As I was lying there, all sorts of crazy thoughts entered my mind. “I don’t have time for this. I need to go home.” Then, the nice radiologist came in and gave me the news that he saw something very suspicious that needed to be checked immediately. “Please contact your physician as soon as possible.” Still, my thought was, Okay, I can do that.
A call to my doctor gave me nothing but anger and frustration. I was told that the doctor was on vacation, I couldn’t be seen for about 2 weeks, then, maybe a biopsy would take another two weeks, and results may be another two weeks. Since my Mother had previously had breast cancer, I knew this line of thinking was not acceptable.
So, I called my Mother’s cancer surgeon and explained the situation. Their response was, “Can you come in tomorrow?” Yes, yes, I can do that.
A visit to the surgeon, a biopsy and a lot of great information was the response from this doctor. She said, “I will call you as soon as I have the results.”
Valentine’s Day came a few days later and even though I wanted to know the biopsy outcome, I was hoping she wouldn’t call on Valentine’s Day. She didn’t. This wonderful, caring, compassionate doctor didn’t want to give me the news on that special day either. She waited until February 15th and called.
I was getting ready to take a shower, just clad in a big towel, when the phone rang. I took the phone and waited…. She explained everything and then said those words no one wants to hear. “I’m sorry, but, it is cancer. You would never have felt a lump. The area is on your chest wall. Thank goodness you got your mammogram.”
I fell to my knees, towel around me and wept. My husband came to my side and held me, as we got information on how to proceed next. Surgery was scheduled and life was forever changed. My lymph nodes were involved and had to be removed. This whole process would begin with a mammogram, proceed to more images taken, biopsy, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and years of “anti-cancer” medicine. Oh, okay, I can do that.
And…. I did all of that with God, the help and love of my family and friends and people that I don’t even know who prayed for me. My surgeon, my medical oncologist and staff and my radiation oncologist and staff are the most amazing people I have ever met. Their care and genuine concern for me and my family helped us more than they will ever know.
I keep thinking about when I heard the word “cancer”, I was only wearing a towel. I was not covered by any artificial clothing as the towel fell around me as I fell to my knees. This is how we come to God, just ourselves and no artificial outerwear. He knows our hearts and he cleanses us with His love and mercy.
There are so many memories from 11 years ago. Some people will remember the events one way and some will remember another way. That is alright. God knows how we need to deal with each situation.
Please get your mammogram. DON’T DELAY!! Yes, that’s my firm voice.
I am forever thankful to each and every one of you who impact my life. 11 Years Breast Cancer Survivor and yes, I am celebrating………
Blessings and love,