I’ll Be Okay

Not long ago, my routine mammogram came back suspicious. I examined myself repeatedly and found nothing out of the ordinary. But there was a certain sensitivity I somehow hadn’t noticed. Was it in my head? I distracted myself with a mantra: I am fearless and therefore powerful.  

Two weeks later, I endured a repeat procedure, a more thorough and painful flattening of my left boob, followed by an ultrasound, performed by a technician, and again by a doctor. The doctor told me to come back for a biopsy the following day. He scrunched his mouth to the side and locked eyes with me. He said, “I’m sorry. We caught this early. It’s tiny.”  

He didn’t say cancer. I reasoned with myself. I’ll be okayI’ll be okay…I’ll be okay…

At home, I told my husband about the biopsy and failed to mention the rest.

Kody drove me to my appointment the next day and waited. In a back room, they took the tissue they needed with a needle and inserted a tiny titanium post to mark the spot of the tiny tumor.

On the way home, I said, “It’s cancer.” There was silence in the pause. “I mean, I don’t want this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I know.” All of this happened on a Thursday.

Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. I waited for the official word.

On Tuesday, the second day of school, I received a call that went to voicemail. A call from a voice who requested a return call.  

I knew.

It’s cancer, confirmed, tiny, and we caught it early.

At my first appointment for repeat testing and a second opinion, I met a woman, three years cancer-free. Similar diagnosis and situation caught early. She had flown to Houston from South Carolina for a follow-up. I have a quick drive across town.

And I have treatment options. Not all include surgery. One of my doctors, I can’t remember which one, said, “If you had to pick a cancer, this is the one.”

So, I feel lucky.

I’m waiting for my next appointment and thinking good thoughts.

I’m thankful every day is a new day, and I’ll be okay.

149 thoughts on “I’ll Be Okay

  1. Sheesh! I’m sorry to hear, Crystal. I know how stressful breast exams are, in general, so I can only imagine what this felt like. I’m glad it sounds minimal? I hope you’re okay.

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  2. You’re incredibly brave and I’m extremely grateful for both your blog in sharing this terrible diagnosis with us and for your friendship. Cancer is an ugly word and your positivity will take you far. Sending all the prayers and love I can throw your way. You got this and as your dad said… You can choose your attitude. Bless you, take time to process

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  3. Crystal, this diagnosis SUCKS!! But what doesn’t suck is your ability and gift of putting into words challenging moments in your life and often finding the silver lining and motivational nuggets that help others make it through a similar situation. As a Tiger at heart, I can’t help but think you will take cancer by the tail and whip it! Praying for YOU, Kody and the kids.

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  4. Wow, that’s scary. How awesome it is though that it was caught and it was tiny. And we’ve come so far with medical treatments in this country over the years. So glad you’re going to be ok, lady.

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  5. I’m catching up on posts I missed while I was away and this one stopped me in the tracks. I’m sorry, I can’t imagine what you’re feeling/thinking/visualizing right now. I add my prayers to the many others but I’m right here if you need to vent, or cry, rant, or discuss laundry hacks. Cheryloreglia@aol.com Love you, C

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    1. It’s still hard for me to believe, Cheryl. I feel pretty good overall, but there are days when I need laundry hacks and bawling sessions and a punching bag. Love you a lot! Thank you for reaching out. I have a new book in my stack—Memoir As Medicine.

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      1. I remember! That’s how I stumbled onto her. I want to say I pre-ordered yours. My brain is having a hard time keeping up. Hopefully yours will show up on my doorstep, and I’ll be surprised all over again.

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      2. Thank you Crystal, I’m enormously grateful, your support means the world to me. The release date is February 2023 and I hope it’s a lovely surprise when it finally arrives. In the meantime, I know you’ll adore Nancy’s book, she’s brilliant. 💕C

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