It’s My Cancerversary

13 Jun

“The pathology report shows that it is B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”

That’s what the doctor told me one year ago today.  ONE YEAR.  It’s hard to believe because it seems like just yesterday, yet at the same time it feels like it was years ago.


It was a Monday.  As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, I get a cancer confirmation.  Man.  That’s just not right.  :)

We were told two weeks prior that the pathologists were “fairly certain” I had lymphoma, so the confirmation was not a surprise.  But I had held out hope the initial test results were incorrect.

Maybe the original pathology was flawed?  Maybe the pathologist didn’t know what he/she was doing?  (I know – not likely, but you can come up with all kinds of hair-brained ideas when faced with such a scary possibility!)  Maybe they had my results mixed up with someone else?

But the results weren’t incorrect and I had to face my new reality.

The most memorable part of the conversation with the doctor that day?  When she said they had made an appointment for me with an oncologist.  My hands started shaking when I realized they were sending me to a cancer doctor.

Oncologists are for sick people.  I didn’t feel sick.  Was this really happening?

How was it possible to be sick, but not feel or look sick?  How was it possible for such a dreaded disease active inside of you without any significant symptoms?

I don’t know.

What I do know is how grateful I am for the bumps on my back that caused me to go to the dermatologist.  And I’m grateful the dermatologist felt the need to biopsy them.  And I’m super grateful that my oncologist saw the need to do a CT scan and, by doing so, discovered the lymphoma was also in my kidney.  I am not, however, grateful for the double-J stent.  I just want to make that perfectly clear.  :)

What a wild and crazy ride this has been so far:

  • 9 weeks waiting for an official diagnosis
  • 20+ doctor visits
  • 60+ hours of chemotherapy infusions
  • 70+ needle sticks or finger pricks
  • 117 days with a double-J stent
  • 2 needle biopsies
  • 1 overnight hospital stay
  • 1 portacath
  • 1 million prayers said – or something close to that  :)

The first year after receiving a cancer diagnosis is full of chaos and uncertainty.  Eventually, you settle into your new life and accept that “it is what it is” and get on with things.  But getting on with things doesn’t mean going back to the way things were because that’s not possible anymore.  Everything is suddenly different.  People become more precious.  Time is viewed as a gift.  Your perspective changes dramatically.

I still get scared and anxious sometimes knowing that – baring a miracle – it will come back at some point.  But I have to say, looking back on the past year, that this cancer has actually been a gift – a true blessing in disguise.  My life has been enriched in so many ways since this journey began.

Do I wish I had never gotten cancer?  Absolutely!

Am I grateful for the blessings I’ve been given through this diagnosis?  You betcha!

As I head into year two as a person with cancer, I am relieved, excited, and hopeful.  I know there are so many good things still waiting in my future.  I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds!

Thank you for being a part of this journey with me!
Much love,
♥ Rachel

9 Responses to “It’s My Cancerversary”

  1. Cara Olsen June 13, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Rachel, you are an incredible woman. I am up late working on my novel, and I couldn’t help but notice the notice in my inbox. I look over and see the title: “It’s my Cancerversary”. I had to stop and read, and I am so glad I did. Your story, and the woman you are in the midst of your suffering moves me to tears. I don’t know you personally, but through the Father, we are sisters and I love you.

    I will be adding to those one million prayers.

    Much love,
    ~ Cara

    • rachturner June 13, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      Oh, Cara! Thank you so much for your sweet words. They mean so much to me!! We are sisters, indeed. :)

  2. Julie Kendall June 13, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    A year?? I thought time only flew by when you’re having FUN?!? Busted that ole cliche’ ! But what a year it has been. I think the thing I’m most grateful for is if you have to have a disease, at least it’s one that has only adjusted time…..not taken it away. Love you hon!!!!

    • rachturner June 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Seriously. One whole year! Love your perspective and love you, Julie!

  3. Susan June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Great Post!! My cancerversary is on the 16th so close to yours! I am so very glad I started to blog which led to me reading yours and getting to know you. You are a very special lady!

    • rachturner June 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

      I didn’t know ours were so close together, either! Congrats to you in advance, Susan! THANK YOU for reading and joining me on this journey!!

  4. Sarah Lawhorn June 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU RACH!!! I’m so thankful for your encouraging spirit and positive attitude that God will bring you through ANYTHING! You are such a sweet and special friend to me, and I’m thankful to have you in my life!!

  5. Jennifer June 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    For me, it seems like much longer than a year – different perspective. It may seem like longer than a year because of all the hours in the chemo room, the doctors appointments, the lovely stent and all of those making me anxious about what they are doing to my little sister. I am amazed by your positive attitude and outlook. I think you are one of the bravest people that I know along with all cancer fighters.


    • rachturner June 18, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      I think it seems longer to you because so much of this year for you was spent waiting and wondering. I was busy “doing” – getting tests, biopsies, seeing the doc, and getting treatment. I’m not brave – just stubborn and refusing to let cancer get the upper hand. If I seem strong it’s because of all the people – like YOU – who have been holding me up. Love you!

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