That Time I Was Diagnosed with a Rare Cancer (Part I)

We all handle things differently. I’m not here to tell you how to respond to a diagnosis. I’m here to share my own experience and my own reactions, and maybe some of it will resonate with you. Or maybe you’re a caregiver and it will help you understand some things your loved one is going through.

This is an overview of the what, when, where, who, why, and how.

My life (as well as my husband’s, Nelson) was turned upside down on December 15, 2020. After a couple of weeks of inflammation in my lower ribcage, we went to the ER. I had been very stressed and figured a good dose of pain relievers or muscle relaxers would do the trick. After going through a long list of questions, the doctor didn’t have much for me and offered a CT scan as a final option. I said, “Sure, why not.”

Darned if you do, darned if you don’t. He returned a little bit later with an awful look on his face and said I had pancreatic cancer.

We sat there. Shocked. And all the synonyms that follow. Nelson called his brother who doesn’t live too far from the ER we were at. I think that was a good move for both of us – Nelson needed the support and I needed someone else to witness what was happening because it was completely unreal.

Then I felt the strangest peace come upon me.

Disclaimer: I will be mentioning my faith throughout my blog posts. I won’t be beating a Bible over your head, but again, my faith is part of my story.

As I was being wheeled to the ambulance and transported to the local hospital, I was convinced I’d be dead in three days (no idea where that came from). And I was okay with that. It comforted me to know that I would go before N, our dog, and Queen Elizabeth II. The only thing that really bothered me were my roommates over the following 48 hours. Nelson was unable to go with me to the hospital or be with me that night due to COVID. Still, such a strange peace was over me.

The next couple of days included bloodwork and an endoscopy. The good news was that I had no markers for pancreatic cancer. The bad news was the tumor didn’t look good and I had no diagnosis. I was sent home on December 18 (our wedding anniversary) and was to follow up with the oncologist who saw me in the hospital.

After a PET scan and a couple of appointments with her, we still had no answers, just that it WAS cancer. I captured my feelings a couple of weeks after being in the ER. This is the first time I’ve published this video (and the ones in the following post).

That was a lot. You (and I) may need a minute.

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