I do realise we are now well into winter but the pear tree outside our bathroom window has only just turned its leaves to scarlet red so I am holding onto autumn for a little while longer. The daffodils I planted in May are just about to bud and our pomegranate tree is now completely bare after we ate all of its fruit last month. Autumn is such a magical time for me that I do think it is my favourite season.
This autumn however will always be remembered after everything ground to a halt in April as I discovered I had at least one ovarian tumour and that my blood tests were telling my doctors it was ovarian cancer. Even writing those words now gives me a chill as I remember how it felt in the doctors office. We had travelled to Paris (where my symptoms first appeared), enjoyed our 5th year anniversary, made plans for the dreams we wanted to conquer next and this tumour that was some 15cm diameter had put my life in danger and our dreams in limbo. We sat in the car in silence on the way home and as we entered the door I collapsed into my husbands arms at a complete loss as to what to do next.
Grant called the list of gynecological oncologists to find one that could see me as soon as possible and I took my bible, sat outside and read through my tears, pleading with God to not abandon me. I read Psalm 91 and as I got to passage 2 and told God that I trusted Him, the words caught in my throat and I couldn’t stop crying. I repeated it over and over again, “He is my God, and I trust Him” until I could say it without fear of what would come next and truly place my life in His hands. The next day I was in another waiting room and then scheduled for surgery in 3 weeks time to remove the tumour and at that time a biopsy would be taken and I’d know the severity of this cancer.
There are so many things I want to share about those 3 weeks that it is difficult to know where to start. Firstly I was physically uncomfortable with a large tumour in my body that made it difficult to drink or eat but the worst was that my life was in limbo. I couldn’t make plans for the next month let alone the following year and that was such a humbling moment. Being at peace with not knowing if I’d have to have a hysterectomy or chemotherapy or the extent that this tumour had affected or infected other organs in my body was so hard. I had lost complete control over my life and my plans that I had and I knew there was nothing else I could do but wait, be content with what I had and have faith in God’s plans.
I have now had my surgery where the tumour and my right ovary were removed along with an equally large cyst on my left ovary. I did not have to have a hysterectomy as the tumour was biopsied and found to be a low risk borderline ovarian cancer. Thank you God! I can not tell you the elation I felt hearing this news! The best explanation I came across in explaining what this means is that ovarian cancer develops when the cells grow uncontrollably on the surface of the ovary and they can then spread to other organs. Borderline ovarian cancer comes from the same type of cells but its growth is more controlled and much less aggressive. Its like the cells are still making up their mind about what they want to do.
A borderline tumour is not malignant, normal or benign and I do have to have regular check ups with my oncologist for the next 5 years but I am here and I am healthy and I don’t think I will ever take that blessing for granted again. My family and close friends gave me so much strength to push through these past few months and I can’t thank them enough for all of their prayers and warm hugs as they told me everything would be ok.
So after convalescing for the past 6 weeks and letting my body heal, I am now enjoying the crispness of autumn and the spoils that come with it and it will always be a visual reminder of this journey in my life.
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16