I have been a nervous person since I can remember. With that being said, I have developed numerous nervous habits over the years including, fidgeting with my rings, tapping my feet, and messing with collarbones. I do these things without acknowledging I do them. One day I was sitting in one of my classes, nervously messing with my collarbones. My finger slipped off my right collarbone and that is when I found the lump. I did not initially think it was too serious, but I did turn to my friend and asked her to feel it.
“It’s probably just a knot”
I will unwillingly admit that I tend to be a drama queen on occasion (or all the time, haha). I just kept thinking about all the things it possibly could be and what if it is not “just a knot.” That evening I did what every doctor or anyone in the medical profession tells you NOT to do, I googled EVERYTHING this “knot” could be. I had recently learned about lymph node placement in dogs and for some reason that was where my google searches ended up leading me. I googled what my symptoms were specifically aiming towards lymph nodes. Lymphoma came up as one of the main things that it could be in almost every search. I JOKINGLY called my mom and step mom and voiced my concern that in a long shot I could possibly, maybe, even for a second have cancer. They obviously laughed at me and responded:
“Halie Morgan, this is why you don’t google your symptoms.”
“Halie Morgan, if you tell me you’re dying from some sort of disease you have diagnosed yourself with, I am hanging up this phone right now!”
We hung up and I continued on with this “knot” the kept growing each day, not because it was actually getting bigger, but because I kept checking to see if it was still there. Ironically, I already had a doctor’s appointment coming up within the next week and just nonchalantly asked my doctor about it the day of my appointment. Unsure of what this “knot” was herself, she sent me to get an ultrasound to get it looked at the very next day. After two days of what felt like forever, my doctor called to inform me that my ultrasound was “inconclusive” and ” we need more tests”. The next day, I was in a CAT scan, getting just that, more tests.
Just a couple hours following the CAT scan, my phone rings. It was my doctor.
“Halie? Are you with someone? Can you get them and go into a room and put me on speaker so I can speak to all of you?”
In that moment my heart sank. It was that moment you know the answer but you still are hoping for something different to come out of their mouth.
“Okay, guys. What we found wasn’t good.”
I wish I could remember the rest of that conversation, but my mind has no recollection. I don’t know what else was said besides bits and pieces that I heard through my sobs, like “cancer”, “chemo”, and “long journey ahead”.
For the last month I have been in and out of doctor offices, in and out of tests and surgeries, and a little out of my mind. I had to have two biopsies to get the one answer we needed. Even though the final biopsy confirmed what we feared, I have found comfort in having answers and a plan.
When I start chemo on February 21st, I am due to have 4 extensive rounds and then we will do a PET scan to see if more chemo is needed or if I will be lucky enough to be at that point, cancer free. Cancer isn’t my whole story, it will only be part of it.