It finally sunk in and I assumed the identity of a cancer patient. It was kind of hard to deny after I’d read my chart, watched the reactions of all of those around me, visited an oncology office, opened and read all of the cards, and had seen my name listed on church bulletins as one of the afflicted. I knew now it was real, no mistake had been made.

I started to do research on my disease. I knew it was very rare. I spent hours and hours looking for medical information on the internet. I finally found and read all of the horrible statistics and predictions related to my diagnosis. I was a nurse. If I’d read all of that on behalf of a patient, I’d have assumed the patient was a goner. It was emotionally devastating. I tried to contemplate not being here to raise my kids, to contemplate not spending my old age with my husband. The bottom had truly fallen out of my life. I was afraid now to even contemplate a future. I’d always said that I could die anytime in a car accident, but this was different. Before when I’d said that, it was an intellectual reality. Now it was an emotional reality as well. It was like comparing the intellectual reality of potentially dying in a car wreck to being in a speeding car with the accelerator jammed, anticipating impact while watching the world fly by outside of my window.

It’s funny now, but at the time I found myself suddenly unable to purchase clothing or any durable goods for myself. I was always frugal, and it seemed, based on the medical literature I was reading, that I might not live long enough to wear out the shoes I contemplated buying. I was suddenly a bad investment.