Sunday, February 10, 2013

Remnants of a Friendship...Part 6

Part 6

In December of 2004 I felt a lump in my groin while taking a showering. It was just before Christmas and my ob/gyn doctor had retired. I didn’t want to spoil my family’s Christmas and New Year’s with worrying by telling them so I kept the discovery to myself. Besides, I felt fine and it didn’t hurt. I was concerned, but thought it can't be anything serious, I always lived a fairly healthy lifestyle. I asked a friend for a recommendation of a doctor and then I confided in Marie. She asked if I had told my husband and I told her no and why. My younger daughter and my husband also have birthdays in January, I hated the thought of putting a cloud over all these special days, especially if I didn't know whether or not it was something to worry about. I made an appointment to see the doctor in January and he referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon did a biopsy and when he got the results, he told me I had a very rare form of cancer, leiomyo sarcoma (LMS), a cancer of the soft muscle tissue. I was scared to death. My husband was scared. I never even heard of this kind of cancer. I burst into tears thinking about my children. They were only 13 and 16 at the time. I told Marie what the doctor said. We were both upset. I was scheduled to have out patient surgery in February to remove the tumor. After I came home, Marie made arrangements to come up and see me for a weekend, almost immediately.

Though her visit was short, it was of great comfort to me in the days following my surgery and put me somewhat at ease. I even had a doctor's appointment with the surgeon to drain the site that kept filling up with fluid, it was one of several time I had had to go. She wanted to be there in the room with me while he did the procedure.After she left to go back home, I made an appointment with an oncologist who specialized in LMS. I brought her all my records and it was decided that I needed to have a hysterectomy on April 1st, in case the cancer had originated in the uterus. Thank God those results came back negative because I later learned if the uterus had been the primary site i would have had 18 months to live. By the time May rolled around I had recovered from the hysterectomy and was getting 35 days of radiation to the groin area. Marie was due to graduate college with her BA in May, and I had always promised I would be there for that day. I couldn't disappoint her. I went online and got my ticket, it was fairly last minute. I left for the airport after my radiation appointment on a Friday. The graduation was on Saturday night and I went there with her children, to cheer her on. No one else in her family came to see her graduate. Her niece was supposed to take off from work to be there, but she didn't. One of her sister’s showed up, but had to go back home because she was in pain. I could see she was disappointed and felt let down. I thought, what if I hadn't been able to be there or decided against going because of my treatments? The timing of the graduation, during my radiation, made it difficult for me to plan ahead. I am so glad I was able get tickets at the last minute and be there to see her graduate with high honors, after so many years of working so hard. I almost felt like I was graduating too. I returned home on a flight Monday morning to get back in time for my radiation treatment in the afternoon. Marie went on to apply for a teaching position in her school district and was hired to teach both high school French and Spanish (her minor) in September. She had achieved her goal and I was very proud of her.

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