Soon after they arrived, we enjoyed tea and cake. As we were finishing, I said, “I have something important to tell you.”
Breathe. You can do this.
Emily reached for Scott’s hand.
All eyes were on me.
I made eye contact with no one. “I have breast cancer.”
Meghan jumped out of her chair. “No, I can’t lose another parent.”
I stood and wrapped her in my arms and said, “This isn’t September 11. I am not dying. No one is going anywhere.”
We sat back down at the table and I briefly shared the journey I had been on for the past month.
“I found a lump months ago, but I didn’t want to say anything until I had a prognosis.”
Emily asked, “Who else knows?”
“JoEllen and Aunt Christine,” I said. “Then I told Pastor Bruce and Auntie Carol. Remember a few weeks ago when the car crashed into the studio? Well, that was the same morning I had my biopsy.”
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. JoEllen had taken me for the biopsy on December 6. The biopsy had gone well. Everyone had been kind and reassuring.
Once we got back in the car, I pulled my phone out and found multiple messages and texts from Carol.
“Something must be up,” I told JoEllen as I started listening to one of Carol’s messages. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
“Ann, I know this is the morning for your biopsy, but I need to know the name of our insurance company. Someone drove their car through the studio window!”
Apparently, an elderly woman had been driving herself to the beauty parlor next to our studio and, well. . . she ended up visiting us instead.
December 6 had been a memorable day to be sure!
When I mentioned the crash, the kids nodded. I had told them about the incident when it happened but had left out the part about the biopsy—until now.
“What’s next?” one of the girls asked.
I told them I had more testing scheduled on Boxing Day—the day after Christmas.
I added, “Emily, you are going back to Seattle with Scott. Meghan, you are still going to Ghana. Once I know the treatment plan, we will figure out your parts. For now, we are going to have a good Christmas.”
The next morning over breakfast, Emily gave me the web address for Scott Hamilton’s cancer foundation website. Meghan shared that she’d emailed her professor for the Ghana trip who said she would bend the rules and allow Meghan to call home.
“Oh, and Mom, I have one more thing to say,” Meghan announced, “I can’t shave my head to make you feel better.”
Laughter filled the kitchen.
Okay, let’s do this!
This was another attack. Another shake–me–to–the–core moment. Followed by another “pile” to sort through and figure out.
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