I Have What???
I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Getting a call from my physician, not his nurse, telling me to come in as soon as possible. I had an appointment the next day for results of my CT Scan, so why he wanted me immediately was beyond my comprehension. It could only mean something is wrong.
A Straightforward but Shocking Conversation
But what? I literally grabbed my sister (whom I lived with) and yelled "we gotta go." She jumped up and just looking at my face she had no idea where we were going but got her shoes on in record time.
Once there, my physician is very straightforward. They know I don't want froo-froo before the important information. So after our hello's, it came: You have lung cancer! I sat and stared with no words. My sister was hysterical (so much for bringing her for moral support) so I was comforting her while trying to think of what questions to ask.
He did tell me what the next steps would be. I remember some, not much. Numerous scans, tests, biopsies. I remember all those words but his description escaped me by the time we left.
Processing a Life-Changing Diagnosis
So there I was. A sister who is still hysterical (practically screaming), driving me to my job to tell them I won't be back for a few weeks as they wanted to admit me with all the upcoming tests (I had a fever as my only symptom). Thinking about my seven children. Thinking about if I'm going to die.
It was the absolute WORST day of my life.
I'm sure by the time you are reading this, you may have possibly already gone through this process and you also want to know what is next and what to expect. So did I. But I learned so much that day. Unfortunately, it took a long time for me to actually realize it.
Realizing My Strength
It made me realize how strong I was. It made me realize one important thing - you have a terminal diagnosis and you spend the first you hours thinking of your family and how they would take the news. I know this is very normal but now that I have been in 4+ years of therapy, I realize I needed to learn a very important lesson.
I would take a bullet for my children, but while I am in the fight of my life, my health must come first. There are times the kids invite me over and I know one of them hasn't been feeling well, so I have to decline.
THIS IS OKAY. I want you to know that this is okay. While you're going through your tests or possibly beginning chemotherapy, take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself - then you can take care of others.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the Lung Cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
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