Saturday, May 8th was one of those perfect days. The weather cooperated, so many people got up early to see me graduate, others celebrated with me afterwards. I felt so happy, proud and loved and it truly was perfect in every way.
Though from there things began to get a little more interesting and less 'perfect.' The weekend went something like this:Saturday: I graduate from college! Summa cum laude!! I celebrate with my family and close friends. (And thanks for all the cards you have sent!! My kitchen cabinets are completely covered. It's beautiful. I will have to post a picture!)
Sunday: Stay in my pajamas all day to rest and recover from the excitement of Saturday.
Monday: I wake up feeling good, ready to face the world as a college-grad, and then the doctor calls to inform me I have skin cancer. To be precise, I have melanoma.
I'm sorry. What?!?? Did you call the wrong patient or something? I'm MS Girl...I'm not Cancer Girl! That will require a totally different cape and costume, not to mention I don't have time or energy for all new sets of fundraisers!! (by the way, Team Wearing Red Shoes has raised over $19,500 making us the top fundraising team in the entire state of Georgia for 2010!)
Meanwhile, I am so proud of my accomplishment, of reaching this goal that has taken me over a decade and many hurdles to complete, and I just wanted to spend a day or maybe a week basking in the glory of finally becoming a college graduate. Instead I spent Monday feeling scared and crying, having miniature pity-parties saying, "Why me? Why me again?"
The good news: after they cut the melanoma out they ruled me practically stage zero - the cancer was mostly contained to the tumor site (on top of my head! like on my scalp, hiding in my hair!!) though he missed a little on the edges and has to go back and cut out more. blech. But in my doctor's opinion the chance of this melanoma having spread anywhere else in my body is less than 2%. I like those odds. I meet with the oncology surgeon June 1 and then we will schedule the rest of the cutting and a biopsy of my lymph nodes to be 100% sure I don't have mean, nasty cancer cells anywhere else. I have about 6 or so stitches in my scalp, but he pulled my hairline back together nicely so I'm not bald or anything. Though it did change my natural part a bit (you ladies understand!) so that will take some getting used to. I've been wearing a lot of scarves to cover up the stitches until they come out.
I probably sound braver than I actually am.
If I think about it all too much, I completely shut down and I don't wanna leave the house, or answer my phone or read my emails, and that's not healthy. If I have learned anything from MS it's that you need help from people to get through any major crisis, whether its physical help, emotional support or just knowing there are people there that have your back when you need them.
But I'm sad, scared and angry all at once. My post-graduation plans did not include "Get Cancer." And the fact that I do have MS just complicates matters tenfold. So now my doctors are going to have to all talk to each other and figure out what's the best plan for my current/future treatments and that scares the crap outta me too. The next couple weeks aren't going to be fun, but I really truly believe that somehow it is going to work out alright.
So I just have to move forward, one day at a time, holding my breath a little until we know for sure what all we're dealing with and what this will mean for my future. Nevertheless, MS Girl will now be taking on the world as a college grad, which only makes me that much more of a badass. :-)