Oh dear, I am in trouble…
Sitting waiting, wondering what is taking so long I am thinking to myself. I see a doctor walking towards me in the waiting room and he says, “Laurie, will you come with me please”. Well, you know this is not going to be good news.
We go back into the examination room and two other people come in the room and I know, oh man, this is really bad. My heart starts to go a million beats a second and my whole body has this shaking that will not stop. The doctor proceeds to tell me they have found a calcified tumor in my breast that looks like cancer and I need to find a specialist as soon as possible.
My Mother was just diagnosed with stage three-breast cancer 3 months before so my sister and I thought it was a good idea to get checked. I had been many times before with no issues but this time was different. It was the look in their eyes. The look you know you are in deep trouble. The look that has tears in it. The look that feels sorry for what you about to go through. The look you never want to see.
I was walking out of the office in a daze, with my imaging, doctors note in hand and I entered the elevator and saw my OBGYN who had delivered all of my babies. He knew I had this appointment today and we had become very close over the years. We are about the same age and had children at the same time. He also knew I never took things very seriously. I had been in his office the day before and he found this lump and set up the appointment with the radiologist for the next day. He looked at me with the look that I knew he had heard already. Man, does bad news travel fast. I looked at him and just broke down. I do not cry EVER, so this was truly an event. We walked outside the building, I am just sobbing uncontrollably and we sat on a bench. I cried for about 10 minutes, and then I was done. I actually never cried again. We started to make a game plan.
By the time I reached my car I had an appointment with the best surgeon at Georgetown University Hospital in two hours. Sometimes it is really nice to know people who can work that quickly. While driving from Bethesda to Washington DC I called my husband to fill him in but with an attitude I was fine and everything will be ok. I did not want to alarm anyone and I was truly very good in bad situations, I always have been. Something comes over me and I just do not stop until everything is in place. If you are sick, I am your girl. I will do everything in my power to make you well.
So finally after a very long wait, this tall blonde beautiful women comes into the room and looks at me and says, “So I hear we have a problem!” Look at it this way; you will have great new boobs. I just started to laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. I knew she was the doctor for me. Her opinion of this awful tumor was no different then the other doctor, so I knew my life was going to change forever.
So the dreaded day comes and I am in this bubble gum pink robe with these wires poking out of my boobs. They had found more tumors that needed to come out. My sister Shelly came with me because I really never said how serious this was to my husband and my children. I needed this to be very understated so I could make it through. I had told very few friends and family about this and wanted to almost keep it a secret.
As Shelly and I were walking down this hospital hallway, we both started to laugh uncontrollable; you know the nervous laugh where you cannot stop. Literally, we were told to stop three times. We just could not, every time we looked at each other it just started again. I think it may have been the “I am gonna die” jokes they did not like. They come to get me and I was walked into this room where your robe comes off and you lie on this table with your arms out like a cross. My doctor says, “I hope you do not mind but I have some of my students that will be in here for the procedure”. I am fine with that until I see 15 doctors that looked 12, whom all want to touch me. I just went with it, made friends with all of them before they put me out.
I wake up in recovery and find my sisters eyes. My doctor and nurses are looking at me saying how do you feel? I’m okay but why are all of you looking at me like that. I have very low blood pressure so I have a hard time with anesthesia and I was having some issues with coming out of it. Worried looks is all I see and to make things even worse she says it does not look good for me and we have to wait a few days for pathology. At this point, I am starting to prepare myself for the worst. My first thought is my hair, how will I look bald? Seeing a person go through chemo is no picnic and I wondered to myself, would I be a trooper like my Mother.
I am at home talking to some friends who are checking up on me, Shelly had left to go back to Boston and I am just recovering from the surgery. It was a snowy, gloomy day and I was in bed feeling a little sorry for myself. I get a phone call from my doctor and she says, “Are you sitting down”? I am thinking, oh man, here is comes, the dreaded words of, you have cancer. I could tell in her voice that she was holding back tears and that just really threw me off and I was just waiting, almost hurry up already. She starts off with, I had them run this twice just to make sure but you have just won “the lottery”. I have only seen this 3 times in my career and you are the luckiest girl. NO CANCER…
I jumped out of bed so fast it would make your head spin, yelling for my kids and husband, guess what NO CANCER. Are you sure Laurie, my husband says? Yes, I won the lottery. They are all hysterical and I am running around the house jumping for joy and just so elated I am not sure what to do next. I start to make some calls to my family and friends to let them in on the news so no one has to worry anymore. What all of them said to me was you have no idea how many people were praying for you. I would have been so mad at everyone if I had known anyone knew about my situation. They all know how fiercely private I am and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Unbeknownst to me, I had been put on everyone’s prayer lists, that friends of friends were praying for me, Churches were praying for me, strangers praying for me. Even our children’s school was praying for me. I had know idea that the world could be so kind and people you do not even know have your back in the worst of times…
The power of prayer and my miracle. Thank you to all of you for your random act of kindness.