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"I read the report."

Eli, my husband, said, choking back tears. I knew instantly what that meant. "What? What??" My mom, Lisa, bursts out. I have cancer, Mom, I said, with not a little irritation seething out. She is in shock. Eli came in to hug me, but I pulled away; I needed more information. I ask for the report. It might as well be in another language, but a few words ominous words stand out- "invasive carcinoma." I start to pace around the room, incredulous. I cannot believe I have cancer. Eli quickly sets emotion aside and takes his typical quiet stance. Eli texts our family doctor, Dr. F, to tell him about the report. Within five minutes, he is calling my cell. I answer, thinking, do not freak out; keep it together. He asks me to read the report to him. I stumble over the words, trying not to cry. He takes a few moments of silence and says, "I will not sugarcoat this. This is going to be hard. You know the guy from Braveheart? The guy with the makeup? That's gonna be you now. You are going to have to fight for your life". I Braveheart. Instead of thinking of the classic film starring the glorious haired Mel Gibson, I think of The Office. In the Safety Training episode, Michael, wanting to prove the point that working in an office is as dangerous as working in a warehouse, decides to pretend to commit suicide by attempting to jump off the building onto a children's bouncy castle. Darryl, the warehouse manager, talks Michael down by telling him that simply being him makes him brave, "You Braveheart, man." "I Braveheart," Michael replies.

Dr. F continues, "I'm going to celebrate with you when you get pregnant, and I'm going to cry with you when you get cancer, but you will fight this and get through it."

I believe him. 16 months earlier, Eli and I told him the happy news of our pregnancy. He was a significant part of the pregnancy. Four years earlier, he diagnosed me with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism. One of my many symptoms was my inability to get pregnant. He promised me that one day when my thyroid balances out, I would get pregnant when I least expected it. I secretly prayed and hoped he would be correct, but year after year, no baby, until one day, it happened. Despite my autoimmune disease, I had a textbook pregnancy, and on June 14, 2022, I delivered a perfect, healthy baby girl, Delaney. I had always wanted to breastfeed my children. Despite a rough start and many tears, Delaney and I eventually figured it out, and it comforted us both. In December 2023, I had a bout of mastitis in my right breast, an infection from breastfeeding characterized by pain and tenderness, especially when the baby latches. Eventually, the condition dissipated, but suddenly, there was a large oblong mass in my right breast. The size was surprising, but because of the infection, I was sure it was related to breastfeeding, most likely a clogged duct or cyst. I showed Eli, and we agreed to get it checked out, but I was not concerned. To friends and family that I told about the mass, I would express how I truly felt, I am not worried at all. Dr. F's PA, Taylor, performed a breast exam and ordered an ultrasound. Curious by nature, I was strangely excited to get access to a part of medicine I had never experienced before and interested to see what this lump was. I see a strange-shaped mass during the ultrasound, almost like a jagged, asymmetrical heart. The ultra sound tech informed me that the doctor wanted to biopsy the mass and the lymph node. This should have been my first indication that this was more than a clogged milk duct; why would they need to biopsy my lymph node? It is clear to me now, but then, I didn't think twice about it being cancer. Like I said, truly not worried at all. There was no way it could be cancer! We had an ultrasound-guided biopsy done. Watching the screen, I see my jagged deformed heart mass and then another mass in my lymph nodes- the truth is, I didn't know what lymph nodes look like, so it did not concern me that there was a dark mass in my armpit on the screen. In hindsight, I can see why everyone was so lovely to me- they all knew what I never let myself believe was a possibility- that this mass was cancer. Maybe it was a good thing I was ignorant of the reality; I had a few more ordinary days not dominated by cancer. Until, of course, the Sunday afternoon, my husband told me, "I read the report". Since then, my life has shifted, and I have been thrown into a battle I did not expect, prepare for, or want. But I Braveheart, right? So I started fighting.


Susan Colon
Susan Colon

Ginny I am so heartbroken for this news. Your family is so dear to me and I will keep praying for breakthroughs and blessings all around and over You! Remember God does not bring you to it, to not get you thru it! You are one of the strongest people I have met! Prayers are going up for you ALL!



Yes you are my Dear

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