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Things that an Alabama girl learned from cancer…

 Things I learned from Cancer 101, Chapter 1

by Sandra Pullen on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:05am
External (gross) appearance of a mastectomy sp...

External (gross) appearance of a mastectomy

Fear is a killer.  When you first hear the words that give voice to your diagnosis, fear is the first emotion to hit you in the gut. It is a paralyzing fear that grabs your throat and squeezes…..tight…….until you feel like you’re going to pass out.  For me, when Dr. Copeland entered the room, I knew.  I held up my hand and said “if you have any good news, I want it first”  He threw my chart down on the table and looked at me, square in the eye, ” We caught this as early as it is possible”

Then, I could breath again.  One deep breath, “now tell me the bad news.”  Both tumors are malignant. OK, now what?

I had enough medical knowledge to know what a mastectomy was, so that in itself did not frighten me, but some how, the word “chemo” did.  Go figure,  surgery not so scary, losing a body part, not so scary but chemo made me FEAR.

I had known people who had done chemotherapy. They always looked so “sick”  No hair, pale and weak, so opposite of me.

I have always battled a weight problem. Food is my drug of choice. It makes me feel good.  Never once did I look , pale or sick. I was the picture of health.  Robust health.  The word cancer was foreign to me.

Oh, I knew what it was, but that is something that happened to other people.  Other people got sick and died.  Not my family, and certainly not ME!

 So with that ,November 28, 2001 became a date that is forever engraved in my mind. Not likely to forget that one, nor the December  day that started my journey to recovery. 


What a strange word, chemotherapy.  Why is it called therapy?   That sounds  cathartic, almost cleansing.   SOOOOOOOOOO not what chemo is, at all!!

 So, for six months I did the “therapy” where they gave me toxic chemicals twice a week.  I took a cocktail mix of three cancer drugs……Cytoxin, Methotrexate, and my favorite of all cancer fighting drugs………..ta da……5-FU!!    No seriously, that is what it was called.  I loved my 5-FU.  The coolest of all cancer drugs. I could just see those 5-FU toxins entering my blood stream, searching for cancer cells all bad ass and mean!  I always wanted my 5-FU first!

All of this was after a bag of Zofran for nausea, and Decadron (steroid)  so you felt like sitting up and taking your toxic medicine.

After all this time you would think that the memory of that time would fade slightly.  Nope!   I remember it like it was yesterday. All I know is the FEAR is always near.  Some days I can feel it breathing down my neck.  It hovers around me like a ghost, whose presence is  seldom seen and only occasionally felt. That is when I tell myself……..cancer is only a word. It has no power. I have made a decision not to give it power over my life. Cancer only has the power to take your life. It can not steal my joy, my happiness, and it certainly has no power to steal my salvation, my gift from a loving father who knew me before I was born, who wondrously  and beautifully formed me!!    Take that cancer!!!   My  DAD can whoop your dad!

Cancer has taught me that life is indeed, fragile. There are no guarantees  given. We are not promised tomorrow. Not one minute is a given. 

I have learned that life is a school. What we learn here is preparing us to be what HE wants us to be.  No, I do not believe that God gave me cancer.  I do believe that  there are things here on earth that are under Satan‘s influence. Cancer is simply a product of this environment, not like air or water, I mean the environment we inhabit. Our earthly environment.  I wish I had the answer to all the questions, but of course, I don’t.  But by the time we get the answers to the questions………………….I don’t think the questions will matter so much.

Now 9 years later, I still remember the fear. Funny, but I can’t recall the pain, just the throat clenching fear.  Little did I know that there was something coming that was so much worse than my cancer. Only three years after my diagnosis came the worst day of my life. The day that my 2 year old grandson Austin was diagnosed with………………………… guessed it cancer.   Man, how I hate that disease!!    To steal a quote………..cancer sucks!!!