Every breath I take

Last year, a mass in my groin suddenly appeared. Within 24 hours, I visited my dermatologist and internist and had a sonogram.  A hernia was ruled out, but no one knew for sure what it was, so I was advised to go to a cancer surgeon.  By the time I saw the surgeon, a few days later, I had decided I had lymphoma and would probably die. He, too, couldn’t make a firm diagnosis, so we scheduled surgery.

I was apprehensive, for sure, but I was formulating my plan of action. I’d do everything I could to take care of my problem.  I wouldn’t tell my kids until I absolutely had to since I didn’t think it was necessary for them to suffer, too. I’d also continue working, provided I was up to it.

I am not overly brave or selfless but I needed to have a plan of action so I could avoid having an illness take control of me. Even if disease stinks, I wouldn’t want it consume me mentally.  Physically is bad enough.

My sister’s FOF colleague had Stage IV colorectal cancer and worked until the weekend she died.  A fellow parent had ovarian cancer, over 25 years ago, when our kids were in Pre-K.  She didn’t let it get her down and was there for her daughter as long as she could hold her head up. My former mother-in-law had serious pulmonary disease in her eighties but did everything she could to live as normally as possible. No one bitched and complained, “Why me?”

Why not me?

Turns out my groin mass was nothing at all. Whether it was a permanent reprieve or a dress rehearsal, it gave me a chance to reflect on my life. I want to love it with every breath I take.

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4 Responses to “Every breath I take”

  1. Karena says:

    We see so much going on with our friends and loved one’s health. So important to love and appreciate each other. My heart is with you all!

    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  2. LPC says:

    Geri, I’m so glad. Maureen, I send my best wishes to your sister.

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  3. Susan says:

    So glad you’re all right, Geri. As for Maureen, pls read some more about cancer diagnoses, esp. breast. Especially Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest. I can also speak from experience with severe loss & illness…someone telling me (or my terminally-ill sister with breast cancer) what you told your sister — no doubt lovingly meant — sends me (& my sister & Barbara Ehrenreich) around the bend.

    It can seem to the sufferer as dismissive…no matter how it’s said. Just warning you what can be down the road…it may come back to haunt you. So pls – encouragement is one thing. Telling someone they’re strong, look at what else they’ve been through…is maddening. Because what one feels like shouting: “holy cow, one more thing may kill me, people.”

    Good luck to you & your sister. It’s a long road.

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  4. Maureen@IslandRoar says:

    OMG, how frightening!
    My sister is now dealing with a Breast CA diagnosis and says she is not some brave, “I will survive type.” Oh yeah, I said to her: you raised 2 daughters Alone when a husband left, kept your house, work like a horse; you can do this too.
    Women are rocks. And we hold each other up.

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