If you personally know me, then you will know that I am an absolute control freak and possibly a bit OCD too. I’m not controlling over other people, I just like to have full control over what I do in my life, but sometimes life has other plans.
If you follow me on Twitter (@MichelleRivera5…shameless plug) or Facebook, or just on this blog, then you will know that I just had a serious health scare. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then please read my last blog entry to catch up.
After finding a lump on my neck in February, which was a swollen lymph node, I spent a month, which felt like a year of my life going through blood tests, Ultrasound, CT Scan, and then finally surgery. The CT Scan showed that I actually had several swollen lymph nodes on the right side of my neck, not just the one I could see and feel, therefore the Oncologist (a surgeon who specializes in Cancer), said that it was “suspicious” and that he wanted me to schedule a surgery as soon as possible to remove the entire lymph node and then send it to biopsy.
You can only imagine what I must have been thinking. My Oncologist said he did not think the swollen lymph node was a result of an infection. The first 2 weeks I had this lump, I figured it was most likely an infection, so when he said he didn’t think it was an infection, fear completely set in. Suddenly Lymphoma Cancer seemed to be a very real possibility in my life.
I felt completely and utterly out of control and all I could think of was not being around to raise my baby girl…soon a hopeless feeling set in, but it was one I had to keep hidden inside because I did not want my baby girl to see any of the sadness that I felt.
However, at night I found myself crying a lot, I think because it was the only time I could let it out. My husband kept telling me, “You haven’t been diagnosed with Cancer. Let’s just keep thinking positively.” I tried to keep positive, but it was extremely difficult. Hearing words like “suspicious” and “surgery as soon as possible” from an Oncologist does not make you feel like things are in the positive light. All I kept thinking was, “Why God is this happening to me?”
Of course I scoured the Internet, the absolute worst thing to do when you are going through something like this to find out as much information about Lymphoma as possible. I was so stressed out about it that I actually started breaking out into hives on my hands and arms, which by the way, has now become almost a daily occurrence and still has not gone away (the hives come and go…Benadryl is my new best friend).
The Oncologist said, “If it’s Lymphoma it’s treatable.” However, all I heard was “If it’s Lymphoma you’ll have to go through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, you’ll feel very sick, you won’t have the energy to take care of and play with your daughter, your husband will have to take care of you, you’ll have to put your TV Hosting career on hold, and you’ll lose all of your hair, so basically you won’t be the same person you once were.” Yes this is what my brain was actually processing. The life in which I always wanted to be in control of suddenly had other plans of its own.
I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and asked for so many prayers too and then finally surgery day was upon me. It was on a Thursday. That weekend that followed was one of the worst weekends of my life. I was in a lot physical discomfort, and I was also feeling very overwhelmed by the whole situation.
Between the meds and running a fever of 100.5, which the Oncologist said was just a result of my body trying to heal from the surgery, I was not doing well during that weekend at all. Finally after 5 miserable days of waiting, my results came in on a Tuesday afternoon.
It was not Lymphoma.
Of course this was great news, but I surprisingly did not feel as relieved as I thought I would. I had just spent an entire month thinking that I could possibly have Cancer, so even with the news that I didn’t, I still felt like I was just this vulnerable human being who really didn’t have control over her life. Let’s face it, life often has other plans for us, it’s terrifying when you really think about it.
My husband says, “You can’t live in fear.” He’s right, but it’s an amazing thing when you realize that you’re not as invincible as you thought you were. I guess that’s just a part of growing up. Yes even in your adulthood, you can still grow up.
So now I’m left with the thought of people who actually do have Cancer. I think about those who didn’t get the lucky or blessed good news that I received that Tuesday afternoon. I look up to those people more now because they are true fighters and I wonder if I could have been up for that same fight? Especially since I had already felt so knocked down just waiting for my diagnosis.
At this point now, I thank God and all of those people who said prayers for me and to those people who sent out positive vibes into the universe for me as well. However, I am left with an urgency to want to learn from this experience and try to make a positive contribution somehow.
For those of you wondering, they still don’t know what caused my swollen lymph nodes, they just know what didn’t cause it. I’ll take my blessings where they come.