I’m not sure anyone is ever prepared for this kind of news, but 8 months ago, I stood alone in my apartment and the voice on the other line said, “You have cancer.” We talked about the next steps, and scheduled my pre-op consultation. I was having surgery in two weeks. I didn’t cry, but my voice wavered. I didn’t know what to do, so I sat in silence for about 20 minutes, staring at the wall.
I called my mom first. How do you call your mother and tell her that you have cancer? If no one wants to get the call I had just gotten, no one wants to make this call, either. I did the thing that a lot children do for their parents when things are bad - which is act braver than I felt, and calmly told her. I broke when she did.
I called my friend, Ella, who had already kicked cancer’s ass. She was a voice of reason and calm. I called my other friend, Alyssa. I had done some traveling and bike racing with her, and she also had quickly become one of my closest friends (thanks Adam). Then I made the call I was most afraid to make – I called my partner at the time. It’s scary to tell the person you love that something is seriously wrong with you. Maybe you shouldn’t, but you wonder if they’ll still love you anyway.
I kept calling. Adam, Marty and Brad, Matt and Mo, my best friend from high school. Some people cried and I cried with them. Others were angry for me. Others were quiet. When I called everyone that I needed to, I sat on the floor and sobbed. I was scared and alone.