Back in November of 2017 I started experiencing some sypmtoms that were not normal for a woman post-menopausal. Having had a similar experience 6 years prior, I knew this required immediate attention. Made an appointment...........fast forward to January 19th after numerous tests, 6 different doctors, an in hospital surgical procedure and I received "the" phone call advising me the biopsy results came back positive for cervical cancer. Sorry to just drop it like that, not really any other way but to say it. Let me back track for just a moment though, as most of you don't know I have been working diligintly on improving my health and losing weight over the past 7 months. I had neglected this for so many years and for the sake of being real here, had managed to tip the scale at 423 pounds. SHOCKING to me as that was, I took control and as of today I have lost 142 pounds. This information is extremely relevant to my story so thank you for allowing me the digression. OK, fast foward back to "the" phone call. It's difficult to explain that moment when you are told over the phone you have cancer. Seemed to be simply something that was said to me in conversation not much different than had I been told I had left the water running outside. Especially because I didn't feel "sick". Truthfully, one of my first thoughts was "Oh great, now people who didn't know I had lost weight will think it was the cancer causing it. Silly thoughts, yet there it was. Thankfully, that was short lived only to be replaced by the equally silly thought...."OK, Funny joke God, I do all this work to get healthy, then I get cancer..." I sort of walked around in a state of initial shock, and didn't fully comprehend the gravity of it all until the moment I was sitting in the oncologists office to discuss the game plan for my cure. It was like a sudden explosion of emotion and reality hitting you like a hurricane. So grateful a good friend accompanied me because my heart was visibly beating through my shirt. It took the nurse 3 times taking my blood pressure for me to calm down enough it wasn't off the chart. Typical in that office I'm sure. When the Dr. (who I now realized was "my" oncologist because "I" had cancer) shared with me the initial game plan was a radical hysterectomy- removing all female organs including the lymph nodes surrounding my pelvis, and he wanted to schedule it right away. This was also followed up by, BUT we might not be able to do surgery pending results from a PET scan to determine if the cancer had metastasized anywhere else in my body. He also shared with me, had I not lost all the weight surgery would NOT even be an option. That is the moment I realized God's hand was in this entire experience. You see, that is why after 60 years of being obese, this health journey has been so easy. God knew I would be in this fight, in this moment. Overwhelming gratitude poured into my heart I wish I could say that has been each moment since then, that would not be truthful. There have been sleepless nights, fear driven emotions, and anxiety like none I have quite experienced before. Because I have a wonderful, amazing, powerful tribe that supports me, I have had the unique opportunity to simply feel what I am feeling in the moment without judgement, and to move through it all with grace and courage. For any of you who have gone through this first hand, I now understand, and I am so sorry. The take another test and wait for the results is like an eternity. One minute I'm laughing and planning a farewell to my Uterus party, the next minute I am sobbing uncontrollably over a broken glass. I felt like it would be easier if I actually had symptoms I could treat with medication, a quick fix, felt sick something, anything besides the roller coaster of thoughts in constant turmoil in my head.
The day I got results my PET scan was negative for any additional cancer on Feb 16th, sitting in my pre-operative appointment was the day I think I experienced true tears of joy from an absolute other realm. I was given the go ahead for surgery, which is scheduled to happen in just 3 short days. I am fortunate to have medical insurance by the grace of God and the affordable care act. Medical expenses will be over the 100,000.00 dollar mark. My portion of this will be several thousand dollars. Still one more hurdle, to get through the surgery without complications and again to wait 2 weeks for pathology reports to comfirm no additional cancer in my body. I will also have a 2 month recovery time in which I will have no source of income. Being self employed at a time like this without a partner or offspring to help with basic living expenses along with mounting medical expenses is a challenge. I am a faith driven woman and I am trusting all will be well. The idea of reaching out to my village, my tribe, my friends and family was given to me by a dear friend. If you find it on your heart to help support me financially I am in deep gratitude. If you find it on your heart to pray for me and send me love for that I am also in deep gratitude. It is such an amazing blessing to feel I am NOT in this alone. BTW, I did have my closest friends gather for a farewell to my lady parts evening. That is when the picture I posted was taken. In celebration of a clean scan on Feb 16th. YES, I wore a hot pink wig and a shirt with hot pink lips. Seemed appropriate. Keeping my sense of humor along this journey is saving my sanity. I am thanking you all in advance for your love, prayers, and financial support. I will update you along the way of this ever changing life I find myself living.
In gratitude and love,
- Frances Boggess
- DeWitt Kavanagh
- Tammy Roberts
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