"Just tell me the truth. Am I going to lose my leg?"
"I don't think it will come to that, but I can't be sure."
I was sitting in the exam room, which was a regular routine by then. I had been given the news that the second surgery was not successful and that they didn't get it all. The cancer was not only still there, it was pissed. I knew that because I was in a tremendous amount of pain and something felt very, very wrong. I had been up all night worried, which didn't help my ability to hear what I was being told. That they were going to schedule another surgery ASAP and that she was going to take all the tissue right down to the muscle.
My Mom was out in the waiting room and as soon as she saw my face, she knew. I sat down and started to cry. She did, too. In that moment, I wasn't thinking "F Cancer" or "I am gonna fight this." I was scared, I was beaten down, and I was exhausted. All I could think was, "Please don't let them take my leg."
So we returned to the acreage and broke the news to my dad. Then we carried on as we had been, the homecare nurses coming daily to change my bandages, the hospital calling with a thousand and one questions, and waiting for the surgery date.
I was able to hobble around, so I accompanied my Mom on short trips to the grocery store, which helped keep my mind off things. I was feeling really depressed but didn't want to worry my parents, so I put on what I hoped was a brave face. One night, I was laying in bed watching TV when a commercial came on for War Amps. A little girl, no more than 8, had lost her leg in an accident. There were clips of her swimming, riding a bike, playing with friends and always with a smile. I suddenly thought, "If they have to take your leg, it's not going to end you. You can't let it."
About a week and a half later, I was laying on a gurney waiting to be wheeled into the operating room for the third time. For some reason, I was quite calm. I reflected on my trip to Ireland, thinking that I was so grateful that I didn't know about the cancer then.
I hadn't said much to anyone outside my family. A few close friends knew and I had to tell my supervisor at work because I was on medical leave. So I struggled with how much to share. I didn't want a lot of attention, nor visitors. I just wanted to be alone, to spend quiet time with my family and deal with how this was affecting me emotionally.
In spite of that, I decided to go ahead and post a request on FB for "healing vibes and positive energy". So, on December 1st I made yet another early-morning trip to the hospital on an empty stomach and dressed in my favorite PJ's.