K, Crystal, what in the heck are you talking about. Here's what I'm talking about:
For the last 8 months I have had knee pain varying in intensity. It usually comes once every 2 weeks to once every month and lasts for around 5 days. In March, I went to see a doctor and I was diagnosed with Bursitis. I lived off of Ibuprofen and eventually the pain went away.... and came back.... and went away.... and came back... and so on. So I went to see the doctor again in June and he gave me some kind of steroid to help the Bursitis go away. And it went away.... and came back.... and went away.... and came back... and so on. I had pretty much accepted that I would have chronic pain in my knee for the rest of my life. And then one day it came back (again) and a little lightbulb went off.
I don't HAVE to live with chronic pain! This is not normal, I am 22, and should be able to run, jump, and frolic if I want to. I am going to GO to that doctor, and figure out what is wrong with me. I don't want more pain medications, I want a solution to take away the pain and keep it away.
So I WENT to that doctor, I DEMANDED answers, got an x-ray... and then my whole life seemed to crumble and fall apart right before my eyes. In the x-ray they found some abnormal looking density in the bone right below my knee (top of the shin, or "proximal tibia" for you medical know-it-alls). I will spare you all the details, but after going to 5 appointments in 3 days to talk to doctors, get tested, and go over results, there is a 98% chance that growth on my leg is malignant (cancerous) and is most likely something called osteosarcoma.
I have no idea what is happening right now. I have had to get substitutes at school so I can go to appointments, I cancelled all my parent-teacher conferences for tomorrow since I'm getting a biopsy, I will most likely start chemotherapy within the next few weeks and maaaaybe keep teaching this year?? The implications for me, my sweet husband, and our future children (IF we can ever have children after treatment) are overwhelming and totally uncertain right now. Maybe my fertility will not be affected whatsoever, chemotherapy will be a breeze, my hair will just get a little thinner (which would be awesome, by the way. I have too much hair.), and I'll have ample energy to teach my class of 34 5th graders. I just don't know! Maybe that 2% chance will pull through for me and it will turn out the growth on my leg is benign.
I don't know what's going to happen, and I am completely powerless to control any of it, but one thought has stuck with me ever since that first x-ray looked a little funny. There are two ways I can approach this: I can be sad, overwhelmed, continue to question why this is happening to me, and feel bad for myself, or I can use this as an opportunity to exercise true faith in God, be optimistic, serve others in whatever capacity I am able to, and be an example to those around me. I know which option is the better one. It's just all so new, uncertain, and overwhelming. Even though I've only known for two days, I can already feel myself wanting to slip into despair and self-pity.
My savior from despair this morning? This video.
Don't fixate on the negative, count your blessings every day, and remember that you can do more than you give yourself credit for.