Broken….In many ways this word describes how I feel about myself. I was diagnosed with Scleroderma 20 years ago, I have had to undergo double hip replacement, a broken collar bone, surgery to attempt to correct contracted fingers and now in 2021 I can add Lung Cancer survivor to the list.
I have never smoked, had no history of Lung disease in my family so I could not imagine the nodule found on my right lung during my annual checkup which included a Cat-Scan would be anything other than some weird manifestation of my Scleroderma. In fact I just denied that it was anything dangerous for a year after multiple tests showed no indication of cancer and I had no physical symptoms. I was physically active, ate healthy…and again did not smoke.
2021 should have been a low medical usage year given all my heavy duty Scleroderma were completed in 2020 despite the pandemic, so I opted for the less expensive plan to ease the burden of my financial concerns. The series of tests I underwent and the small but slow growing nodule seemed to be pointing to a more dramatic solution e.g. surgical removal, than I imagined. By the grace of God, I was able to change my medical insurance in May of 2021 which is extremely unusual. Given my situation I jumped on the chance to get health care that would address my imminent health needs. That said, I came to a deep realization of the economic choices people are forced to make between the cost of getting the care they need and the ability to pay. It is a real thing. I thought how can I even afford to get this done. The ability to pay remains an issue.
On September 15, 2021, I had surgery to determine the nature of the nodule. It was cancer – Stage 1. In my case all of the cancer was removed during surgery and I do not have to undergo additional treatments. Thank God! I do now live with the threat of another cancer diagnosis looming around the corner.
One thing I know for sure, had it not been for a routine checkup that included a CT I never would have known I had cancer. Early detection because of my Scleroderma testing saved my life. How many others are walking around feeling great not knowing cancer is killing them slowly.
I started this by saying that Broken is how I feel, and it is true. But because I know all of my broken pieces are in the hands of God I am ok with being broken.
I wonder why God chose to save me. I wonder what purpose He has for my life. I figure at least telling my story is a good first step and being an advocate for annual health screenings and early detection of not only cancer but other diseases that could save lives.