What if

March 18th, 2011 § 11 comments

What if I hadn’t gone to the gynecologist on time for my 6 month post-partum visit?

What if, during the breast exam, when my left breast felt “different” (no lump, no real reason, just “different”) my doctor had dismissed it as post-nursing irregularity and told me to come back in 6 months for another exam?

What if, when I called to schedule the mammogram (only 18 months after a clear one) and they said it would be a few months for an appointment I had said, “Okay”?

What if I hadn’t called my doctor to tell her that’s how long it would take and ask if that was acceptable?

What if she’d said “yes”?

What if I hadn’t opted for a double ┬ámastectomy?

What if I hadn’t gone for a second opinion on chemotherapy? What if I hadn’t gotten a second pathologist to review my slides?

What if that didn’t happen and I didn’t find out with that second look that I actually had invasive ductal carcinoma in one breast, in my lymph node, and dysplastic cells in the other breast?

What if I had decided not to do those things? Where would I be now?

What if I hadn’t been assertive, perceptive, inquisitive, impatient, and willing to do what it took to get answers?

I probably wouldn’t be alive. Or if I were, I’d be spending my time treating an advanced cancer.

Not blowing bubbles with Tristan today,
Not praising Colin for his schoolwork,
Not planning Paige’s sleepover for tomorrow.

I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the things I enjoyed today.

But I am here.
I was able to be with my family.
I was able to help others.
I am able to look to the future with hope.

And for that, I am happy.

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§ 11 Responses to What if"

  • Kwonstein says:

    Usually people think about “What Ifs” to feel regretful but I see you use it to feel thankful of how you’re doing now. That’s a really positive way to view your life and the events that happened in it. Very inspiring writing.

    • Sue says:

      That’s so true…many say “what if” in regret. Thanks Lisa for a different look at that. These what ifs are so worrying. How do we know which decision is the best, each little choice? We don’t always, but somehow we make them. And I’m thankful you made the ones you did.

  • Mary Helen says:

    That’s woman’s intuition for you. I’m so glad you were persistent and assertive and took the matter seriously. I’m honored to have met you and to consider my friend.

  • Emma Devlin says:

    We’re glad you asked those questions and I’m sure your children are ecstatic. I truly believe there would be far more cancer survivors if more patients took charge of their care than allowed themselves to be led in their care. Thank you for educating people how important it is to be screened early and to take charge of their treatment.

  • Becky says:

    Me too… glad you’re looking to a hopeful future, because you give me hope daily. ­čśë

  • Laura says:

    “What if” questions always freak me out. But they also make you look back in gratitude for the way things turned out, even with something like cancer where “better” and and “recovered” and “a good situation” are all relative.

  • rachel says:

    what if i hadn’t been out of work for 6 weeks 2 years ago and gotten into twitter? i wouldn’t know you sweet sunshine cutie, i have learned so much from you and value and treasure your friendship. one thing i’ve learned is to be pro-active with health and how to be good listener when a friend or relative is ill. another is that peanut butter and co makes damn fine pb. so thank you for your assertiveness. i bet you’re an excellent bubble blower too xo

  • joanne firth says:

    I’m so moved by this as well as being thankful that you are that person who persisted and received all of the care and treatment you needed. You give me hope and courage every day.

  • Pamela Carlson says:

    Yes. What-if questions are a bit different when you’ve had an early diagnosis of cancer. It’s amazing to think of the advantages I had because of the diligence of my doctors.

    It was important to me to get as much information as I could when trying to make the treatment decisions. I wanted to exercise *some* control.

    I’m happy that you were determined and successfully sought out your answers. Brava!

  • Ann says:

    You’re the lynchpin in an amazing little community. I’m so grateful that I’ll never have to ask, “What if I’d never met Lisa?” You’re a part of my life that I cherish.

  • Lisa, I am so glad that you can look back at this and feel proud of what you did for you and for your family. You were defiant, skeptical, and pushy when it counted most. I’m not sure I would have done what you did. You have proven that we are our own true advocates.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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