The first time I found the lump in my right armpit I broke down crying out of fear. Then the tough farm girl busted through and I rationalized it was probably a swollen lymph node. I felt fine. I have always been as healthy as a horse – or two. I waited, pushing off getting it checked out since never in my life have i been quick to admit illness. This time was no different.
I told no one, not wanting to cause worry. I asked my daughter, the soon to be nurse practitioner, how you could tell if something was a swollen lymph node or something needing attention. “You should probably get that checked out,” she told me.
I let life and my schedule postpone getting it checked out. By the time I did, a month had passed. As I sat through the biopsy, I looked around wondering if this was the moment that would change my life. It did.
When Amy Zahn, nurse practitioner, called and said they were all surprised by the results, I knew it wasn’t good. Then I heard melanoma. I asked her to repeat it to make sure I got it right (I am a reporter after all). Metastatic melanoma – it was spreading. As I sit and write this, I don’t know the extent nor the prognosis. All I know is I sense it might have spread more than I want to admit but I also know I am strong and healthy up to this point. And I know that whatever course I will be taking I have to face with courage and grace. I have been given this cross to bear for a reason. Mine is not to question why but to forge forward with whatever the journey may bring.
Right now I’m too scared to do any searches to learn more. It’s too new, too fresh, too raw for exploring right now, although I’m sure others around me have done so. I’ll wait and take it one step at a time as I do everything in life.