Sitting in my doctor’s office waiting for her to come in is nerve racking. I know that it can’t be good news if she has asked to deliver it in person. I cannot imagine how the next few moments are going to change my entire life, the lives of my family, my dreams, and my goals. Well, it may not be that bad so I need to just calm down. I always over react. It’s probably not that serious. Just breath.
“Hello Nichole”, I hear from behind me. “Hi Dr. Smith” I respond, noticing that the look on her face is very serious. Not the warm happy expression I am use to when I see her. Dr. Smith crosses the room and takes her seat behind her desk. She looks me straight in the eyes and says “Nichole, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but the results are not good. We will need to run some more tests but you have a form of cancer called mesothelioma. From the results we have thus far, you won’t have long, probably six to eight months. You are going to need to get your affairs in order and decide which course if any you would like to pursue. Surgery will not be an option due to the location of the tumor.”
“Meso theli what?” I sputter. I mean I have heard that word on television commercials but from the second she sat down, Dr. Smith didn’t look me in the eyes and I knew I had been right to think the worst. Everything she was saying sounded like she was speaking a foreign language, although I am certain she was using layman's terms. She was in the middle of saying something to me when I just stood and walked out. I had to get out of there; the room seemed to be closing in on me.
I walked slowly out to the parking lot, got in my car and started it. I just sat there for minute. Then it hit me. Like someone just translated everything my doctor and said, it all made sense. I’m dying. I’m dying soon and there is nothing they can do to help me. Dr. Smith had said something about hospice care being the best option to help keep me comfortable. I felt the hot sting of my tears as they formed and began spilling down my face. I don’t want to be comfortable, I yelled, I’m not ready for this. This is not supposed to happen to me.
I heard someone knock on the passenger side window. It was my husband; he had been in the doctor’s office with me. I unlocked the door and let him in. I chuckled a little because I couldn’t believe I had left without him. Then our eyes caught and this time we were both crying. “I’m so sorry; this wasn’t supposed to happen to us. It isn’t fair, what am I going to do?” I whimpered into his chest.
He pulled my face close to his and wiped away my tears as he sternly said, “What are WE going to do? It’s not fair babe, but we will figure this out. We will figure this out. I got some information from the doctor so when you feel up to it we can do some research and see what our options are. No test is going to tell us how much longer we have together. WE will get through this babe. We will. You have to, we need you. So pull yourself together cause if you go home looking like this the boys are going to freak out.”
This is how I imagine receiving a diagnosis like this would go for me. I know that if I were single with no children, I would probably just accept the Doctors prognosis, go home, and wait to die. Luckily, I have a family that keeps me motivated. Thinking of them would provide me with all the determination I would need to find a way to keep myself around for as long as possible.
My boys need me, knowing that would be the fuel I would need to keep going. My first step would be to research the type of cancer I was diagnosed with. Find out what causes it, how this particular type of cancer behaves, where it is most likely to spread to next, and what types of treatments have been successful for other patients in the same situation.
I would then schedule an appointment with my doctor to hear from them what they had intended to tell me the first time. This time I would use my mom ears. I would listen like the lives of my two boys depended on it. Because my two sons lives would depend on it. They are both mommas boys and they need their momma.
I would discuss with my doctor the information I had found and ask if they knew of any alternative or experimental treatments currently being used. I would also ask for a referral for a second opinion and any other referrals they could provide me with.
Personally I feel very strongly about the use of homeopathic and natural medicine. This being said, the next few appointments I would schedule would be with herbalists, homeopathic doctors, acupuncturists, nutritionists and various other natural healers. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself if given the proper support from both the outside (herbs and medicine) and inside (positive thoughts and visualization).
I can barely even imagine how difficult it would be to wake up every morning knowing that you are dying. Luckily, I have a great family that would help me to remain positive and focused on healing. I can safely say that my family would be the reason I wouldn’t give up. They would be the reason that finding ways to prolong my life would be my number two priority (as my family is my number one). With their help, and the work of others that had been there before me, I would hope to have even greater success than James “Rhio” O’Connor had on his journey.