Just Another Cancer Story
I’m honored to have erotica author and damn fine human Eden Baylee here today to share her experience with cancer. Eden lives in Canada and I’m a huge fan of her books Fall Into Winter and Spring Into Summer – she writes literary erotica (aka what 50 Shades aspires to be). Read, follow, worship.
I’d like to thank Rachel for asking me to pen a personal guest post. She’s had incredible writers share their experiences, so I am honored to be here amongst them.
The title of my post is not meant to be disrespectful, however, mine is but one of millions of stories about cancer, neither more nor less significant than any other survivor’s story. The only thing that makes it unique is that it happened to me.
I don’t usually share it publicly for a couple of reasons. The word “survivor” carries an undertone of achievement. It’s as if surviving cancer elevates one to a higher status. I’m not comfortable with that, but it’s clearly my issue. Though I would never downplay cancer as a formidable opponent, I survived because I wasn’t ready to die.
Secondly, cancer does not define me even though it stole almost two years of my life over a decade ago. As with most things of the past, I’ve made my peace with it and moved on.
Today, I continue to share my story with those who are going through treatment. I do it because survivors shared their stories with me when I needed it most. Nothing empowered me more than talking to someone who had endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and countless other treatments and then went on to live life—fearlessly.
For this reason, and for all those who continue to fight, here’s my story.
The specialist ignored my request to do a core biopsy. Instead, he did a fine needle aspiration to test for malignancy of the lump I’d found on my breast. It was a test I knew carried a high percentage of inaccuracy.
“Look,” he said, annoyed with my questioning him. “I can tell you right now you don’t have cancer. You have no family history. You’re Asian, and you’re too young.”
In no uncertain terms, he let me know he was doing me a favor by performing any test at all. He was the specialist with letters behind his name, and I was just a scared woman attached to the breast he had to examine. Though I considered him a heartless bastard whose practice had long outlasted his compassion, relief washed over me when my results came back negative for malignancy.
Over the next few weeks, my lump continued to grow. I returned to my general practitioner and asked for a referral to a different specialist. I wanted a second opinion.
I knew my body. Something wasn’t right.
This time, a young female doctor was assigned to me. She confirmed that fine needle biopsies carried a high degree of error and recommended removing the lump. Given its aggressive growth, she didn’t want to waste time doing additional tests. I walked out of the office nervous, but relieved I’d made the decision to have surgery. The thought of a scar didn’t appeal to me, but hell, at the rate the lump was growing, I’d have a third boob in a week if I didn’t have it removed.
On the day of the surgery, my best friend drove me to the hospital early in the morning. Everything went as scheduled, and after the anesthesia wore off, I was moved to a private waiting room with my girlfriend. We laughed and chatted about where to go for lunch. I was starving!
The nurse who had prepped me for surgery came in with the doctor carrying some pamphlets—post-surgical care instructions, I thought, but no … they contained information about breast cancer—which I had.
The only thing I remembered hearing was the word “cancer,” and then my girlfriend’s quick intake of breath before she started crying.
It was surreal as I watched the doctor mouthing words “Cancer … metastasis … more surgery … oncology …” and other medical terms I’d never heard of at the time.
Finally, at the end of it, the nurse handed me the pamphlets and asked if I had any questions. Sure I did, I had plenty. But my friend was sobbing, and I couldn’t think straight. The questions would have to wait.
Don’t ever underestimate a hungry woman who’s just been told she has cancer, or her best friend who’s quite reserved until she gets behind the wheel. That day, we hit a hundred in a sixty-kilometer zone, barreling down one of the city’s main arteries in search of comfort food.
“I dare a cop to stop me,” my friend yelled at the top of her lungs. “I’m going to tell him you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer, and I don’t give a shit what he says!”
“No kidding,” I said, “as if he can possibly make my day any worse.”
“Yeah, but if I get a ticket, you’re paying for it!” she screamed.
We laughed until we cried.
From the day I was misdiagnosed until the end of my treatments, there were countless decisions to make. I can only compare it to climbing an old tree with numerous branches. Reaching the top meant I could grab my health back, but there were limitless, different ways to get there. At times, fear paralyzed me, but in the end, I did what was right for me based on all the options available.
As an active participant in my well-being—knowledge gave me power.
Once my health improved, I reported the original specialist who had misdiagnosed me to the College of Physicians and Surgeons—the regulating body that oversees medicine and protects the public interest.
I had kept detailed journals throughout my experience and transcribed the relevant parts to present to the College. After a couple of months, they returned a decision.
Though the College did not feel the doctor was responsible for the misdiagnosis, they reprimanded him for his lack of due diligence. It was a black mark against him.
Please connect with Eden below — she’s also on Twitter and her website rocks. Eden does more than any other author I know to support and promote her peers. Please support her and buy her fantastic books!
AND want to win a free copy of her fabulous new erotica book Spring Into Summer? Simply leave a comment below and you’re automatically entered! Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you.
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