Today marks one year that I have been CANCER FREE! One year ago I underwent major surgery to remove a literal monster from my body. Thankfully, I listened to my intuition, my body and a dear soul to get the help and assistance I needed. I share with you what I wrote last year following my surgery. I hope it inspires you to follow through with what you feel about your health and to always remember to listen within:
As I move through this process of recovery I get asked a lot of questions. One of the most prominent questions people ask is, “Did you know you had cancer? What kinds of signs did you get?”
That’s a BIG loaded question with many facets to the answer.
I started having symptoms for over a year prior to the diagnosis. With each month, pains and other physical issues became more apparent. I tried to push them away and blame them on my age, my work or other things to make my feel better, but I always had an underlying, nagging feeling that something was wrong. Having lost my fathers to cancer, I just viewed my instincts as being paranoid when my mind came to thoughts that cancer may be causing my experiences.
By August of 2015, I couldn’t overlook things anymore as things became severe. There were times I couldn’t get out of bed or would have to come straight home from work or social events. It would hit me out of the blue – no warning and it would hit HARD!
I worked for doctors for a large part of my life and I began to piece my symptoms together with my limited medical knowledge as well as my gut feelings. My focus came to one of my prior bosses, Dr. M (I will not use her full name) who was an OB/GYN in San Diego I worked for. I remembered patients coming in with similar health issues that I was having. They were diagnosed with cancer. I began to wonder what Dr. M would advise me to do.
In my mind, it was as if I would have a conversation with her and I could hear her voice answering me and advising me. She was telling me to get to a doctor immediately. This was cancer and I needed to move on it before it progressed. She even went so far as to tell me the exact symptoms I needed to relay to my doctor.
When I think of what someone might suggest to me, I don’t try to read their minds, so this response of hearing her talk to me was very peculiar. I decided to look her up so I could call or email her about what was going on and see if she had any advice. I went online to find she had passed, about 10 months prior from cancer.
Of course this freaked me out! It made sense, now, but still freaked me out.
I asked other peers to tap in, view my energy and see if they came to the same conclusion. No one really saw anything. That gave me some relief, but still I had Dr. M, waiting in the wings, giving me caution.
As fate turned out, one morning I woke up in intense pain with what I thought was a bladder infection. I rushed to Urgent Care and they gave me meds for it, but also saw some things that alerted them. I was told to go to my primary care physician.
It usually takes me 3-4 months to get in for an appointment with my GP. Dr. M was there, telling me what to say and urging me to be pushy so I could get into my doc. I actually got an appointment two days after I finished my meds (a RECORD TIME) to see the PA in the doctor’s office. The PA found some issues and said I needed to be seen by an OB/GYN. He wrote me a referral.
Now, if it takes me 3-4 months to see my family doctor, you can only imagine how long it usually takes to schedule with a specialist. But, low and behold, I left my GP’s office, referral in hand, and was able to schedule with the OB/GYN the next week!
Dr. M was with me, helping me make out a list of my symptoms before that first appointment. Test after test followed. An in office biopsy came back negative and yet the symptoms continued. “They aren’t going to find it with that type of test. You have to keep pushing them or they’re not going to get it. Write everything down. Every time something happens, keep track. Log your pain scale,” she told me. And so I did. All of which led me to the next step – exploratory surgery.
Following the hysteroscopy in April, my doctor was so excited to tell me all that she removed during the procedure. As I came out of the anesthesia, she pointed out polyps, cysts and fibroids that had been taken out and told me I’d feel much better. And yet, I still had this uneasiness. I looked around for Dr. M, and she was nowhere to be found.
The call from my doctor came, three days later. First, her nurse called changing the time of my post-op appointment to later in the morning. She gave me the time slot right before lunch time. “Hmmmmm,” I thought to myself. “That’s the time Dr. M would have us schedule people when she had to give them bad news.” It was a fleeting thought that left my mind quickly. Five minutes later, another call came from their office. As I heard my doctor’s voice, Dr. M was right there, standing next to me. She placed a hand over the back of my heart, told me to steady myself as I heard the words, “The pathology report came back and shows you have cancer.”
My world shattered. But Dr. M stayed close by, always watching out for me, giving me insight, and telling me I was going to be okay. She was there in the hospital for the next surgery, every step of the way.
One giant piece of advice Dr. M gave to every one of her patients was to listen to your body. Your body doesn’t lie. That piece of advice I hold onto and I believe it (and Dr. M, of course) saved my life.
We are created to KNOW ourselves – our minds, our bodies and our souls. Never doubt those gut feelings. They come to us for a purpose.