I had been sick with a persistent cough since school started when I walked into my doctor's office in mid-October, begging for a chest x-ray. I was tired of being told I had COVID-19, but never testing positive. There were a lot of other symptoms too, fatigue and unexplained weight loss.
A chest x-ray, turned into a CT scan with contrast the very next day. Not thinking much of it and wondering what could possibly happen, I went in for my appointment at 11 a.m. An hour later, I got a call from my doctor telling me I had several enlarged lymph nodes which were presenting like lymphoma.
"Wait, what?!" I am 36 years old, and we are getting ready to spend our life savings on IVF treatments to try and have a baby. This can't possibly be happening now. My doctor, who I love, said he wasn't sure but the scan was enough to warrant a specialist to be sure.
It all happened so fast. The day before the region championship, I am sitting in the specialist office who is scheduling a PET scan and bronchoscopy.
All I can think is that all of this is a distraction for my husband. How is he supposed to focus on winning the region championship when I am so sick? This is NOT what I want right now; a region championship is what I want.
The next day, he promises me, he is prepared and that everything will be okay.
By the end of that Friday night, I was in tears…because we lost. We lost again the next week in the first round of the playoffs unexpectedly; I cried.
Earlier that week I was having biopsy surgery and got the call Thursday that they still didn't know what kind of lymphoma I had and were sending my slides out for DNA testing. And at this point, I am so mentally and physically exhausted to be able to process what it means to have cancer.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Classical Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December of 2021. Had I waited any longer to be seen, I probably would have died. And even now, almost two years later (1 year in remission), I still have a hard time processing what happened to me and the things cancer took from me.
But…I am a walking miracle. I am alive to watch my husband coach more games. I am alive to watch my baby boy grow up.
There are still times I get depressed about the life I wanted to have before cancer. It wasn't easy getting diagnosed and treated during the season, but we did it and I made it. I am not the same person I was before cancer.
I am thankful for the army of people who helped me. My best friend moved into my house every two weeks to care for my son and keep his life as normal as possible so my husband could take me to chemotherapy treatments over three hours away. To my football family, who made sure I was never forgotten about. To my church, who prayed over me. To the countless others, who made sure our financial needs were met. I can't begin to name everyone.
So, to the wife battling cancer, no matter what kind, I want to say a few things to you:
- Pray and worship - My Jesus by Anne Wilson was my go-to.
- You are not alone. You will battle so many emotions, but I hope you never feel alone.
- Ask for help. This was hard for me, but you will need to.
- Each day is special; do something for yourself each day.
- Do what you need to see tomorrow, no matter what that means.
I hope you find encouragement in this article. And know if I can pray for you or with you, I am one message away.
A former football coach’s daughter turned coach’s wife, Stephanie can be found on ringing her cowbell for the Central Yellow Jackets with her son, Gunner under the Friday Night Lights. She enjoys Venti Iced Caramel Macchiatos, singing Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, and shopping for earrings and bracelets. @Mrs.Coach.Windon