“Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
Your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
Your consolation brought joy to my soul.”
Psalm 94: 17-19
As I reflect back, my story actually began when my mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer at the age of 52 and then a second primary cancer at age 62. At the age of 64 she succumbed to colon cancer. At age 42 I was told I had stage III endometrial ovarian cancer…not a good prognosis. I suddenly went from being a mother and a nurse caregiver to being “taken care of.” It was not any easy role to transition into. I was told by Mayo pathologists that I had a probable Lynch II syndrome a genetic mutation that increases your risk of colon cancer and other cancers. As a result, my identical twin sister had a greater than 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer and my older sister was at great risk as well. They both took this information proactively and made the decision to have prophylactic hysterectomies with removal of their ovaries. It was not a good chapter in our lives when we were all 3 in the hospital at the same time.
After surgery and chemotherapy I went into a short lived remission. Two years later I was told my cancer was back with a vengeance. The cancer was on my liver, diaphragm, and spread all over my abdomen like confetti sprinkles. They could not remove the cancer. I was sent home to die. As a nurse I was compelled to remain in control of a situation I clearly did not have control of, so I signed a release and read all of my medical records. I was devastated and sorrow-filled when I read the words “palliative care.” As a nurse I knew that meant end of life care with comfort measures only.
Seriously…am I dying? Is my story coming to an end? Is it time to place the final period?
Finding the "ancer" in cancer; we are never in control of how our story unfolds. The only thing we are in control of is how we turn the pages.