By Faith L. Wylie
Do you want the good news first or the bad news? I hate that question. Anticipation of the bad news overshadows any joy brought by the good news. Why can’t life just bring good news?
Good news has arrived on our doorstep several times in the past month, but some bad news showed up, too.
“Getting smashed with the girls” won first place in the most recent statewide newspaper column contest. The column reported on a mammogram outing by the Leader’s female staff members. We called it margaritas and mammograms.
KJRH reporter Erin Christy came along for our party. Her report aired last week on “The List,” a nationally-syndicated show.
We promoted breast cancer awareness in a fun way and got the newspaper statewide and national recognition.
Now, the bad news. I’m facing a cancer journey that will involve more than drinking margaritas and writing quips.
Doctors confirmed last Wednesday that I have lymphoma, a very curable form of cancer.
After a few more weeks of tests and appointments, I’ll have a treatment plan.
The first hint of trouble came Sept. 22 when I felt discomfort swallowing. I found a large lymph node under my ear.
I called Dr. Stauffer’s office the next day for a dose of antibiotics to clear it up. Fortunately, Tod Estes, the physician assistant, decided to get a better look.
The last month has included a sonogram, CT scan, blood work and biopsy. It’s also included good and bad news.
The CT scan found several enlarged lymph nodes the same day that I won a fiction writing contest. I missed the awards presentation because John and I were getting over hearing the “C” word for the first time.
I attended part of the writing conference, and a literary agent agreed to read my manuscript. She rejected it the day after my biopsy surgery.
Being an eternal optimist, I’ve scoured the internet for alternate diagnoses. My favorites were cat scratch fever and lupus. Lupus can cause both swollen lymph nodes and photo-sensitive rash. Well, I’ve had a crazy rash since June.
When I presented my alternate theories to Tod, he scheduled blood work to check for lupus, but also referred me to an expert for a biopsy.
The expert stuck a camera down my nose. The camera revealed some bad news—I have acid reflux. But that’s really good news, because without the discomfort swallowing, who knows when I would have found the cancer problem.
What’s on the horizon? We’ll know better in a few weeks
The good news is that I am blessed with a great family, wonderful staff and lots of good friends.
If you say, “What can I do to help,” I’ll probably tell you. I may need rides to appointments or meals brought in for a day or two after chemotherapy sessions.
Hours may be a little crazy at the newspaper office. Call before you make a special trip on Thursdays or Fridays, because those are the days I try to schedule appointments outside the office. If your club has an evening or weekend activity, you might get a volunteer from your group to shoot a photo and write up some details, because I suspect my work level will be reduced.
The newspaper may not be perfect. I suspect you will find typos and bloopers. If you do, please keep it to yourself. I’m not listening to any more bad news.