Cancer - Hope and Healing

By: Susan "Honey" Good

“Life never becomes a habit to me. It’s always a marvel.” ~Katherine Mansfield

7 years ago, my wonderful world came crashing down.  Life was no longer a marvel. I had a diagnosis of lung and melanoma cancer on the same day!  I am lucky to be alive. Here is the story of my journey:

The Diagnosis

I went to my dermatologist for a yearly body check. “There is a spot on your leg.”  A biopsy was performed. Three days later, on a Friday morning, the phone rang.  I was told I had a melanoma, one of the deadliest and fastest growing types of cancer. I could not believe I had CANCER. I needed immediate surgery. I was hysterical. I was required to have a chest X-ray and blood tests. The chest X-ray saved my life. Because…

Little did I know that the horrific news of the day was not to end. Friday evening, I received another devastating call, this time from my internist. “Your chest X-ray showed you have a tumor in your lung, Susan.” They were now worried that the Melanoma cancer may have reached my lung. My world fell apart in one instant, darlings.

The next few days were filled with frightening tests, a serious cancer operation on my leg (stage 1 cancer, no chemo or radiation needed) and soon after the removal of half of my lung that did turn out to be cancer.  Stage 1. No chemo. No radiation. Thankfully, the Melanoma had not spread to my lung.

They said I was lucky. When you have cancer, you do not feel lucky. You, darlings, who have cancer or had cancer know the fright.

In the last 7 years I have had to worry about 19 body checks with my melanoma doctor. Fortunately for my check-ups my doctor found another melanoma (stage 0) and I had another surgery, this time on my wrist. I have had 19 CAT scans on my lungs, worrying each time what the test result would be. Is it back?  What if it is!  What will I do!  Each trip to my surgeon, to hear the results of my scan, has been a terrifying experience.

Shelly and I are seated in a room.  I am squeezing Shelly’s hand as my doctor opens the door and begins to speak. I wait for the words I want to hear.

19 times in the past 7 years I have heard magical words from my surgeon…you are just fine.  I have been blessed.

I struggled with fear of my cancers for 5 years.

How I tried to fight off my emotional fears:

I.  I allowed myself to grieve. I cried often and shared my feelings of fear.    

II.  I did not take any anti-depressants because I refused to hide my true feelings from myself.

III.  I made myself stay interested in all facets of my life. I actually started while I was recovering.

IV.  I worked out and ate properly in order to make myself feel I was doing everything in my power to keep the cancers from returning.

V.  3 months after my surgeries I decided I needed the help of a specialist to help me come to terms with my terror. I visited a psychologist once a week for over 2 years She tried very hard to teach me how to reason with my fear of Cancer.

VI.  I surrounded myself with positives and did things I enjoyed to keep my spirits up. Positive family members. Positive friends. Travel. My musings on Honey Good. My husband and my pooch, Orchid Good.

It will be 8 years this September since I was given my sentence and knowing me, I will start worrying in July, on and off, about the yearly CAT scan I will take in the middle of September.  

But until almost the end of July, my darlings, I will ride my wave: enjoying my life, writing my stories, loving my husband, Shelly, my pooch, Orchid and my family, traveling to near and far and most importantly… reveling in appreciation that I’m feeling so vital and alive today!

Do Something GOOD today: Check yourself! Make sure you are healthy too!