Just a quick note on perspective. And, well, Cancer. The C-word. Yeah, I said it. Not the hilarious one that I use to describe my closest girlfriends and worst enemies, no, this is the not so fun C-word.
Okay. This is not an easy subject for me, but here it goes. Several months ago, I found a lump in my collarbone. It wasn’t that big, or really that alarming, but I noticed it. Here is the part where I have to tell you(because it’s true, and he deserves some props here)that my wonderful husband actually made me a doctor's appointment himself, in fact tried to force me to go, and was distraught when I flat out refused.
I canceled that appointment and said NO (yes all in caps). Why? Because I was busy. I was working on a book that I have to say I was obsessed with, and by the way that I love, and we were in the middle of traveling to some really amazing places to meet even more amazing readers.
And also, it should be noted, I put it off because I honestly believed it was nothing. I am thirty-four years old, and go to great lengths to stay healthy. I am best friends with my elliptical, and I drink shitty liquid kale concoctions on a daily basis. I’m not telling you this to gross you out, but to illustrate that I am in no way at risk for cancer. Not at all. I won the lottery here.
But back to the point. Months later, I still had the lump, but it was slightly bigger, and sore to the touch. The soreness, I don’t even know why, alarmed me more than the lump, and I finally had it checked out.
So long story short, I went to the doctor after my last book came out, and was diagnosed with a rare malignant sarkoma. The chances of getting the type of cancer I had are literally 1 in 1,000,000, and the chances within that million are 2-5% of it being malignant. I should be headed to Vegas folks(in fact Me and Mr. Lilley did head to Vegas for a few days after I was diagnosed, to cheer me up) because I beat all the odds, and that little lump was both.
My response(after hugging my kids really really hard for a very long time) was to handle this aggressively but quietly. Very quietly. I don’t know why, but when I heard that I had the bad C-word, I wanted to tell as few people as possible. And I did. It never occurred to me to share the information far and wide. I very quietly took care of it. Scared shitless, I went through tests, and surgery, telling only a select few about the entire mess. Portions of Lovely Trigger were literally written in waiting rooms in hospitals.
The good, no, great news is that the surgery was a success, and after they cut out the growth and the tissue around it, my margins came back clean. This means no chemo, no radiation. In fact, unless it comes back, I am basically in the clear( Cue big huge party) I feel unutterably lucky for that. This was one massive wake up call, to be sure.
But anyway, let’s skip back to my point. I was talking to one of the few people I’d told, about my radio silence on the matter, and she presented this to me: “Why would you keep it a secret? There’s an opportunity here, to help get the word out about early detection.”
Needless to say, that made me feel like an ass.
And that’s why I’m writing this. Early detection is everything. It’s allowed me to keep my hair, and possibly my life. No matter how healthy you think you are, if there is anything that’s worrying you about your body, some change that you can’t explain, go to a doctor. If you have a question, at all, no matter how busy you are, just have it checked out. Please. There is nothing more important in life than your health.
<3 <3 <3 R.K.