This post was originally published by Amy Williams while going through her cancer journey several years ago. This post along with a few others which we will note throughout the series are being shared with Amy’s permission as a reflection of her experience.
The following Tuesday, Dr. Ellison confirmed my suspicions. Breast cancer. “Yes, I know,” I said to her. It is a “infiltrating ductal carcinoma, high nuclear grade,” according to the pathology report.
The next step, Dr. Ellison explained, would be to have a routine MRI, “just to be sure” that I had no other cancers. She had scheduled this examination for the next day, followed by a meeting with a surgeon, Dr. Bear. “We will have preliminary results of the MRI when you meet with Dr. Bear,” she promised.
An MRI machine is a loud thing. Apparently a lot of people freak out when they are rolled into a little coffin-like space and subjected to jackhammering sounds. Furthermore, if it is a breast MRI, they make you lie on your stomach with your breasts hanging down two holes that look medieval, somehow. To add insult to injury, they jab you with a needle.
“What kind of music would you like?” the technician asked, earphones in hand.
“Jazz?” I asked, warily. “No problem. We’ll put on the Kenny G.”
Well, not exactly jazz, but you give me a little Kenny G and some loud jackhammering, and guess what I do? I fall sound asleep.
After the MRI, the silencing four words come out in conversation with Steve. I HAVE BREAST CANCER.
This answer was not the “what’s next?” I was looking for. Steve suggested that my mistake was praying to the Old Testament God, the God who turned Sarah into a pillar of salt and sent down the plague of locusts. He implored me, “don’t do that anymore!” That evening, I prayed again, more specifically, carefully and pointedly, couldn’t my challenge be to run an ultramarathon which would be quite enough! I promised to raise money to fight cancer, other people’s cancer, please. Please. But it was too late. My challenge is to fight cancer directly. I have come to understand that God has given me this challenge because I am strong enough to take it on and because I am meant to tell this story. I knew at that moment that I was going to accept this challenge put in front of me and I would live to tell my experience and share it with others so that they could find comfort and stregnth in their own . Later, this story would become what we know today as Amy’s Army, but back then I was merely on a mission to win my cancer battle and remember by feelings, thoughts and experiences for this story.