Monday, July 19, 2010

A story I've told more than five times

This is a blog topic from my theme-blog group. Most of you may already have heard this story (hence the reason I'm telling it) but even so, I still think it's a remarkable story:

The story I'm going to share is the one when I found out I had cancer. It was only a month after I had Bianca, my first child. As the weight started coming off, I noticed my belly was lopsided. Especially when I laid down. My doctor felt it and agreed there was a problem--was it a surgical sponge she'd forgotten to remove after the c-section? We did an ultrasound, then a CT scan, and they told me first it was a dermoid, then a benign tumor. It wasn't until two weeks after the surgery (and they removed my "football" sized tumor) did we find out it was malignant, a cancer called liposarcoma. What makes it so strange is that this is a cancer usually found in elderly men.

The really interesting part of this story is when I was having my surgery, it was right after Christmas. So my mom and dad, and sister with her 5-year-old son Collin came out to SLC to visit and watch my newborn baby. The night before my surgery, my sister Betsy said she wanted to feel my tumor. I laid down (as that was the easiest way to feel it) and guided her hand to the protrusion. She didn't make much of a reaction then, but several days later, after I was released from the hospital, she asked if I would do something for her. She wanted me to feel her little boy's tummy. When I did, I freaked out because it felt exactly like my tumor did. I told her to go to the ER right away, but they left the next day and went when they returned to St. Louis. The doctors brushed off Betsy, saying it was backed up poop and told her to give him an enema. A couple days later, the doctors still wouldn't listen to her. Finally, she demanded an x-ray and sure enough, there it was: a basketball-sized tumor in a five-year-old's tummy. A Wilm's Tumor. It was a grade four cancer. He had a huge surgery, weeks of chemo after that and I think radiation too.

He made it through. So did I. My doctor had said there was a 90 percent chance my cancer would return, but almost ten years later and it hasn't. I wonder sometimes if I was the tool Heavenly Father used to save my nephew. Maybe, maybe not, but at least my cancer doesn't seem so futile if I think of it that way.