On April 10th, 2014 I received the dreaded call no woman wants to get. I’ll never forget the words I heard that day. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have cancer”. I had a wave of fear come over me. I was in shock. I was at work that day. I called you after I hung up the phone to tell you. The support I received from you was not what I expected. You were heartless and very insensitive. Typical behavior of the cruel man I came to know. I cried the entire walk home.
I had to be at a consultation at 3:00 that afternoon. You offered to drive me and even attended the consultation with me. Unfortunately, rather than being the supportive partner I needed that day, you chose to bring all your bills and spent the entire consultation writing out your checks and paying your bills. I don’t remember much of what the cancer coordinator had to say that day but I do remember the lack of empathy you exuded that day. When we got in the car I began to cry. Your comforting words to me were “stop being a drama queen”. This became your mantra for the next year as I battled one of the toughest fights of my life.
That May we met with my oncologist who shared the results of my oncotype test. She explained I had an aggressive type of cancer that would require and aggressive treatment. The treatment would include chemotherapy, radiation and infusions. She was adamant I had to begin treatment right away. Again, the empathy you displayed would leave many to believe you were a cruel and very insensitive man. And you were. Your concern wasn’t my health, rather you were more concerned about how my treatment would affect our trip to Maui that August. My oncologist was so frustrated with you she finally said “we will cross that bridge when we get there”. Of course our vacation became your concern as I battled three grueling chemotherapy treatments. We took that trip and I returned to endure three more grueling treatments with you by my side. I’m not sure which was worse. You or chemo but if I had to choose, I’d call it a tie.
I’m sure you recall your behavior my first treatment. Despite being sick you insulted me by telling me I needed to do something with myself. Your comment still rings in my ear. “You look haggard!” And let’s not forget my trip to the hospital. Wow! I’ve never met anyone so cruel and insensitive like you.
For one year rather than show any kind of support or even encouragement, you chose to abuse me, cheat on me, call me names and treat me like a piece of dirt. Your excuse was “I was unattractive!” I will never forget how you treated me. No woman or man deserves to be treated the way you treated me when I was sick and fighting cancer.
I had a mammogram today. Ironically it is two years to the day I had the mammogram that changed my life forever. For the first time in two years I’m happy to report there was no sign of breast cancer. It doesn’t exempt me from all the other tests I had to endure today for other types of cancer but I take solace knowing that just for today I’m breast cancer free.
As I look back on the past two years fighting this disease I can’t help but remember the many days and nights I spent on my knees praying for strength to endure the battle I found myself in. I certainly will never forget the pain and suffering you put me through as I fought this grueling battle either. But as I ponder your insensitive, cruel behavior I take pride in myself knowing that while you and cancer may have kicked my ass, I’m above ground today and I’m still standing. I’m one strong lady!!! A force to be reckoned with.
I sat in the waiting room at the cancer unit today. My heart went out to all the patients I saw battling cancer. Their bald heads, the glared eyes and the suffering they were enduring was just a reminder how far I’ve come. However, the difference in the people I saw today was they all had a supportive partner. I wished I had been so lucky.
Karma has a way with coming back to us in some way. I suspect you will not be exempt from being the receiver of exactly what you put out. And when karma comes knocking on your door, and it will, it’s my guess you won’t last one week walking in my shoes because as fate would have it, unlike you, the good lord blessed me with the gift of strength and perseverance. Thank god for that!
Despite the suffering I endured with you at the helm, I’m not angry. Hurt but not angry. Rather, I view the experience as a learning experience. It taught me the meaning of strength, empathy and compassion. As I close this chapter and close the door to the nightmare I experienced these past two years, I find myself beginning a new chapter. A chapter that I intend to fill with love, peace and happiness. And if cancer comes my way in the days ahead, I have faith I will rise above that battle with a smile on my face and the confidence I can get through anything. But more importantly, this new chapter comes with a goal to ensure that no one fighting cancer will ever have to endure what I did. I’ll share my story and one day the crappy story I lived with you will be the story that will bring hope and inspiration to many throughout the world. God never wastes a bad story without turning it in to something good. I pray my story helps many. It’s my guess it will.
I wish you the best and pray you get exactly what you’ve got coming to you. However, I pray it isn’t cancer. I don’t wish cancer on anyone, including you. You’ve managed to get away with a lot all your life. You may even think you’ve won but there’s one battle you haven’t faced……yet!!! It’s the battle you will be facing with God. Now that’s a battle you’re sure to come out at the losing end. So you take care of yourself. Thanks for the good times but more importantly thanks for the bad times. You taught me something very valuable. The importance of how to treat others and the faith to believe in myself. I can get through anything with God by my side. Thank god for that!!! God bless you Ron and like the song I’ve included on this blog today…..I’m still standing!! I don’t know about you but despite all my trials, if you ask me, I may still be a little haggard, who wouldn’t be? But I think I look pretty darn good standing.