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  • Jess Haag

I. Have. Cancer.

Say What?

I. Have. Cancer.  Yeah...it was shocking to me, too.  I still look in the mirror and say those words to myself every so often because it just doesn't seem real.  But I do.  I have cancer--Stage IV Colon Cancer, to be exact.  Stage. Freaking. IV.  Let me take you back a bit....

August 24th, 2017.  The day our firstborn, baby girl started 3k.  A day that will be noted as the day that forever changed every part of my being--and not just me, but all of those close to me as well.  My doctor (who I seriously appreciate and love and without her I may have never known) had scheduled a CT scan for me due to some tummy issues I was having.  We both thought maybe some IBS stuff, possibly Crohn's, ya know--that sort of stuff.  My blood work a couple weeks prior to this scan came back completely normal but she just wanted me to have peace of mind and just make sure nothing serious was going on up in here.  So...there I was for the scan. 

Well...the CT scan obviously was not good.  She did inform me that it was most likely cancer in the colon as well as the liver.  Wait a second.  Come again?  Say whaaaa??  Okay.  Cancer. 

Okay.  Thank GOD my husband was there at this point before I was told anything.  I did okay, at first.  But emotion eventually took over and a couple tears were shed at that point.  I was actually lucky enough to meet with an oncologist later that day at 2pm.  Or so I thought I was lucky...what followed was something I never ever ever ever dreamed would happen.

So my husband and I met with the oncologist.  She went on to say how "I'm not going to call it cancer because we don't have all of the facts yet.  But...I do believe it is cancer."  Okay.  Expected that.  We then got to take a look at the scan to see what we were dealing with here.  She then explained some things followed by, "I recommend a grief counselor."  Grief counselor?  I kinda looked up to the ceiling, eyes closed and shaking my head, "Umm...I think maybe not now but maybe down the road," and proceeded to look at my husband who said, "Yeah, maybe once when we know exactly what we're dealing with here."  She then proceeded to look at me and say,"I don't think you understand what I'm saying.  There's no cure.  I highly recommend a grief counselor."   Okay.  HOLD THE FREAKING PHONE, what did you just say?!?  No cure??  But you JUST said seriously 5 minutes prior to this that you couldn't call it anything until you have ALL the facts.  How is this possible?!?  When a second opinion was mentioned, the Dr. proceeded to say, "yeah...you could try and if you do make that decision that's okay.  You're young and there may be clinical trials available.  We'll do what we can."

 I couldn't breathe.  I sat in that chair, rocking back and forth, closing my eyes, hands fidgeting.  All I could think about were my three babies at home, my husband sitting next to me.  Anyone in that room could CLEARLY see that I was having trouble breathing.  But guess what...that doctor just kept going and going and going and going.  I finally stood up and said, "I have to get out of here.  I have to go.  I have to leave."  Reliving this very moment brings tears to my eyes each and every time.  I couldn't get out of there fast enough and they just kept talking.

I left that day feeling devastated--completely, 100% feeling defeated.  The thoughts of not getting to watch my babies grow up and not getting to grow old and gray with my hubby just overwhelmed me.  I remember telling my husband as we were getting into the car, "I'm not ready to go yet," with tears just pouring out of me.

We got home where my mom was watching our kids for us and I just crawled into bed.  My mom came to comfort me and all I kept thinking was, "I'm not going to be around to comfort my kids like this when they need it."  My dad showed up--came in and just broke down, "my baby, my baby."  Ugh.  Guys.  It was horrible.  It makes my stomach turn even writing this right now.

So, if it makes my stomach turn..then why do it, right?  Why share all of these personal things with everyone?  As some know and maybe most can tell, I don't throw a ton of personal 'stuff' out there for any and everyone to see. That's just not how I roll.  But...I honestly felt like I needed to share my story.  I need to share this journey.  Not only because, in a way, it's therapeutic for me.  Not only because I wanted an easy way for people to see how I'm doing--let's be real, I'm anticipating quite the journey ahead of me and I still have 3 toddlers (ages 1, 2 & 3) at home that need me for basically everything so I can't and don't want to be on my phone constantly.  But I just feel like... I have to.  And let's just leave it at that for now.

By the way, don't worry.  I didn't stay that down for TOO long.  And that's coming up next.

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