Determined (from my book by the same name)

Cindi Hart - Indianapolis, IN

Determined (from my book by the same name)

On a Thursday evening I got a call from my doctor. I had cancer. I wandered around like a zombie for all of that Friday at work, trying to understand what I had heard on the phone. 

The next morning was Saturday and Ken and I were hosting a get-together with our team. Ken and I hadn't talked much about my diagnosis since the phone call. I think he was waiting for me to bring it up, while I was still trying to figure out how I felt and what I was supposed to do.

So much was going through my head as we puttered around getting the food and the house ready for the party; putting tablecloths on the tables, chopping vegetables and working on decorations. Suddenly, like a monster trying to escape from my chest, the realization built up and the pressure constricted my throat. I felt like a caged animal and started to pace. The process loop had stopped and reality settled in. All the alarms were blaring in my head and the fight or flight instincts were engaged. Ken was standing in the kitchen when I blurted out, "I have to go for a bike ride!"

With a shocked look on his face, he replied, "You can't! We don't have enough time for a ride." I looked at him, trying to suppress the wild rage I was feeling and burst out, "You don't understand. I HAVE to go for a bike ride, NOW!" I turned and ran upstairs, changed into riding clothes and before he knew what was happening, I was on my bike flying down the driveway.

As soon as I turned onto the road the tears began to flow. The gauge on the pressure cooker released and the gasps and screams were almost convulsive as I rode in fury down the hills. Tears streamed sideways into my hair and blurred my vision as I choked, coughed and roared out a combination of anger, fear and sorrow. If screaming alone could eject the cancer from my body, I would have been cleansed from head to toe. I was oblivious to anyone or anything around me, but that was okay because I knew those back country roads and my bike knew where to go.

I pressed on, fighting the fact that I had cancer. So angry and outraged, I questioned God. "How could this be happening to me? I thought I had done everything right, everything I should to take care of my body. You were supposed to do your part and protect me from things like this. I thought we had a deal!"

Questions surfaced regarding what I could have done wrong. Was it something in the food I ate or the water I drank? No one else in my family had ever had cancer. I didn't drink, smoke or even consume caffeine. I ate a low fat diet and exercised more than most normal human beings. "HOW COULD THIS BE HAPPENING TO ME?" I screamed out in a second wave of frustration, dressed in confusion, topped with anger.

Stomping on the pedals at full speed as if trying to out race the cancer and not let it catch me, I felt no pain in my legs, just the pain of realization that this was not going away and this was not a dream that I would wake up from. My throat throbbed from the mounting pressure of the screams and my lungs burned from the gasps. This was a rage unlike any I had ever felt before and it drove me to ride faster and faster. I rode like a crazy woman determined not to let cancer win the race.

I rode it out, cried it out, and screamed it out and when nothing was left after the last tear had been shed and the pressure was somewhat relieved, the bike turned back toward home. "Lots of people get cancer and live," I thought as I pedaled. Now, I just wanted someone to cut the cancer out of me so I could be done with it. I had a life and family, especially my daughter, worth fighting to live for. When I returned home Ken was pacing the floors. His expression told me that he was not sure what had just happened. I hugged him and said, "Let's do this thing," and I wasn't referring to the party.

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