It was 8:30 at night, I was in my art room painting. I heard my cell phone ring. As I looked at it I knew it wasn’t good. The phone rang again and I saw my doctor’s name. I had gone to see my new primary care doctor only a few days ago. My right hip has been giving me quite a bit of pain and I thought I had injured it. After seeing Dr. Kathleen, we had scheduled me to start physical therapy the next day. The phone rang again. Composing myself I answered. Dr. Kathleen started talking immediately, “don’t go to physical therapy tomorrow, she said, “it looks like the cat is out of the bag.”
What does she mean, “ the cat is out of the bag”? My head was spinning and I was trying so very hard to grasp what she was saying. Dr. Kathleen continued “I have scheduled you a brain and body MRI plus a chest x-ray for tomorrow. We will have to do several tests in the next few days to confirm it.”
What was she saying? “The cat was out of the bag” my mind hummed. I hung up and in a daze, I went talk with my husband John. I was thinking to myself ‘what would I tell him?” We had only been married for eight months. In that short time, I moved in with possessions from a family of four. We were remodeling his 25-year-old townhouse. He had been a bachelor all his life. We had taken in my friend’s daughter Bella to live with us. Now I had to tell him this!
“The cat was out of the bag”
The first thing I said to him was “I need you to be strong, really strong, like a rock I need to lean on you and for you to keep your emotions inside. My doctor called just called. That pain in my hip is not an injury, it is a tumor. She doesn’t know what it is,, but given I already had stage 1 breast cancer before, it is probably breast cancer that has moved into my hip. Please be strong for me,” I said. “Tomorrow is MRI, scans and blood test. Let’s wait before we make a conclusion.” John said nothing. He came over to me and held me tight.
“The cat is out of the bag”
Dr. Kathleen was trying to tell me, something I already knew. 30% of women with early-stage breast cancer will become stage four. Cancer hides, sometimes for years. Showing up later in the bones, brain, liver, and lungs. My cancer had hidden for 4 and 1/2 years. The last time I saw my first oncologist, he said to John and I “go live your life you’ll never have to worry about cancer again!” Now I had received the news no one wants to hear. The date was October 22nd, 2015. The same date, Marty from Back to the Future 2 movie travels to in the future. And here I was losing my future.
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