Yesterday marked 10 years from the day of my diagnosis with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma. It was an anniversary that happily passed with little notice. I think back to the days when those milestones were celebrated with vigor, but I think I’m happier to be at a distance from the memory of those days, if that makes sense.
I write about it only to reflect on this. I discovered a lump on July 19th, 2006. I went through three different doctors, none of whom biopsied the lump. It wasn’t until I visited an internist that the lump, the side of an avocado seed, was removed and biopsied. The surgery and diagnosis didn’t come until late September (the 26th). My oncologist was furious when he found out the span of time that had passed from the first doctor’s visit to an official diagnosis.
In those years since that day, I have not been haunted by the cancer; no, that experience changed me for the better. Instead, what haunts me is question that lingers:
Had I been an insured 28-year-old mother of three young children, would I have been treated differently?
Mostly, I dwell on all the good that has come out of this decade. So much struggle, but so much joy attached to each day. I lived to raise my girls, to meet my new husband, to have a son, to start a farm, to follow a dream.
The reality of what happened and what continues to happen to other families will serve as a guide for how I choose to live my life, my vote, my practices. And a reminder of how truly lucky I was back then. And how fortunate I am today.