A Part of Me

Do you have moments in your life that are still as clear in your memory as though they just happened an hour ago?

February 12, 1998 is one of those days for me. I was a university student, eating macaroni and cheese out of a yogurt or margarine container because I didn’t have any clean dishes. Only one of my room mates was home at the time. The phone rang and it was for me. It was my doctor. A biopsy that had been done two weeks earlier had come back positive for cancer. CANCER!! I was 21 years old. I had my whole life in front of me. Cancer was a death sentence in my mind. I remember briefly talking to my parents on the phone, who were going to come and pick me up immediately so I could be at home with them. While we waited, Monique and I scoured her nursing textbooks to find out what this dermatofibrosarcoma was. Remember, this is in the days before most people had internet at home and if they did it was dial-up and there wasn’t all too much information to find on the web yet, so a quick google search was useless. I remember that it was a very cold day and that I was in shock. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, I wondered if I would ever wake up and not have my first thought be about cancer. But eventually that day came. I don’t know when that was, it just sort of happened without me noticing. Eventually I moved from being a cancer victim to being a cancer survivor. Eventually the years passed by and cancer became a part of my story, a part of the tapestry of my life.

Today, 18 years later, I find comfort in this knowledge. I know that the loss of Mikail will never go away. There will forever be a hole in my heart. This incredible feeling of loss will be a feeling that will remain in me forever. What I also know, from my cancer experience, is that over time the loss won’t be the first thing I think about every morning. I will get used to this feeling that, right now, I just want to go away. It will become a part of me, just like the physical scar I wear, forever marking where the cancer was removed, will always be a part of me. It will become a part of my story, a part of the tapestry of my life.
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