One word changed my life

"Well, I know why your leg won't heal.  You have cancer."

I felt the world fall out beneath me.  My stomach sank.  All of the air was sucked out of my lungs and everything suddenly became an odd shade of grey.  

Photo by vitanovski/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by vitanovski/iStock / Getty Images

It started out with a cut on my leg that refused to heal.  It would reach a point where I thought it was healing, then it would break down again.  My intuition told me that something was really wrong, but I was too fearful to seek help.  So I stubbornly insisted that I was fine.  

Finally, I went to the doctor who referred me to wound care.  I went every week and they tried every treatment they could think of.  This went on for the better part of a year, during which time they tested me for a myriad of things that could be preventing me from healing.  They also drilled me on nutrition and suggested I wasn't eating enough fruit and veggies.  Now, I admit my diet is not the best on the planet, but it's far from what I would consider unhealthy. I was also asked about my activity level, what I could be doing to interfere with the healing, etc..  At any rate, we would soon learn that what was going on was not in any way my fault.

I was referred to a plastic surgeon and had the initial surgery in May of 2015, which consisted of a skin graft.  It never fully healed, but I was assured that I just needed to be patient.  By the time I returned from Ireland in October, the site was falling apart once again.  I was heartbroken.

After the cancer was discovered, I had another surgery.  This time the goal was to to remove the affected tissue.  It required at least two weeks of recovery, much of which was spent in bed.  I had this misguided notion that I would get a ton of writing done and catch up on the list of books I'd been meaning to read.  The reality of the situation is that I was in so much pain I could barely function.  I didn't like the pain killers, so I just quit taking them after a couple of days and slept as much as I could.

I had a follow up appointment and the night before I couldn't sleep.  I had a feeling that something was wrong.  Very wrong.  Turns out, I was right.