April 22, 2016. I’m at work. My cell phone rings. It’s my radiologist. I leave the newsroom to go into the hall and sit on the floor. Why? I know I’m about to learn some life changing and breaking news. I take a breath. “You have cancer,” says the doctor. David Muir walks by as I sit on the floor. “How ironic,” I think, as I try to process what the radiologist is telling me. I hear him say something about surgeons…that the tumor was small… that I should be okay. Everything else is just white noise. I hang up feeling numb and not surprised. Cancers of all kind run in my family. I knew this was the likely diagnosis. I just wasn’t expecting it… after my first mammogram (which I randomly decided to have following a visit to my gynecologist)…at 40. Only two people knew that in the last 38 hours I’d gone in for a mammogram and had a biopsy. They were not my parents. No need to worry them until there was something to say. Now I had something to say but didn’t know when to say it. It was the day before I was to fly home for Passover. Keep my mouth shut until the last day of my short trip home or tell them tonight… while I’m at work. I felt the tears well up in my eyes and knew I had to get some fresh air. Work was quiet. I told my friend/colleague who knew about the biopsy that I was going to Central Park for some fresh air. I didn’t give her details. Just texted her I’d be back shortly. I sat on a bench, put on my sunglasses and let the tears roll down my cheeks. I looked at all the people walking by. They seemed so happy. I was anything but. The world had kept turning for them. My world had just paused. I wiped my tear-stained cheeks and walked across the street and back to work. I sat down and texted my friend/colleague that I had cancer. She was sitting next to me. I just couldn’t say the words out loud. I didn’t want to, but had to share the breaking news with someone. In hindsight, texting people you have cancer is probably not the best way to share big news. However, for me, it was the easiest.
5 months later I’m happy to say surgery is done. Chemo… check that off the “Kicking Cancer’s Ass” list. Up next is radiation. So on this Thanksgiving… a mishmash of what cancer has taught me thus far or reminded me of. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.
- Be thankful for your parents and friends. I could not have made it this far without my parents and friends… period.
- True friends will step up. Keep these people by your side and never let them go.
- It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your health. You could lose it tomorrow.
- Not everyone has the same heart as you. Don’t expect people to treat you the same way as you would treat them. You will just end up disappointed.
- Keep going. Physically and mentally. Remind yourself that bad days are just temporary.
- You will learn something from every person you meet. (Blog post to come on this one!)
- Some people will make you feel small. But for every crappy person out there, there is a good person.
- Just breathe. Anything bad happening at a particular moment will pass.
- One smile from a stranger can brighten a dark day, so share your smile.
- You never know what a person is going through. Cut them some slack if they do something to piss you off.
- Nobody fights alone.