This whole grand adventure started a little of 5 years ago. I went hiking in some mountains in Alabama with friends late one fall evening, nothing out of the norm, just peace and quiet. Suddenly on the way back up to the car I felt something give way in my leg. it jolted me into a panic – it was dark, I was in the middle of the woods. With the help of friends I rose to my feet trying to shake off this enormous pain. Once back at the car I remember saying to my girlfriend “wow, I think I pulled a muscle”.
A few days after this, I noticed a huge lump on the top of my right thigh. I consulted numerous doctors who all randomly gave me the same answer “Don’t worry, it’s NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT”. Mind you, I am now 19 by this point, with my first child and scared to death of this thing that just crept into my life.
Finally, after my second child I went to see a surgeon my mother had referred me to. With one look he immediately turned to me and said “Tiff, I am going to get to the root of this”. Not knowing what this en told I trusted him completely. Within a few days after this visit I had surgery, a panic attack, and the whole world come crashing down on my shoulders. Complete HORROR! I wasn’t even stitched and stapled up before the doc was rushing to my Mom to let her know what the future was holding. The doc knew immediately upon entering my body that I had CANCER – just was not sure of the complete diagnosis.
The next few weeks after this was a whirlwind of emotions – how was I going to fight this big bad wolf and still be a fun loving Mother myself, and be 21 all at the same time? From phone call number one to MD Anderson, I was lost and confused, and felt like the world had just left me behind. I made it to the first appointment with my Mom in tow, not even knowing what to expect, but wanting to really just wake up from this nightmare. The doctor came into the room with 6 other people dressed all in white coats. She introduced herself as my medical angel. I scuffed, not knowing rather to thank her or run for the hills. She began by telling me that I have a very rare CANCER called Synovial Sarcoma and that only a small handful of people develop this disease. I can remember my whole body going numb, the room falling deaf, the only thing I could hear was my own heartbeat racing. I could see her lips moving, and my Mom crying. I was then instructed on the general guidelines of what to expect, the symptoms of chemotherapy, and what it could potentially do to my body. But it just never sank in until I was setting up an appointment to get my central line. Looking at the day’s appointments, I remember thinking to myself “I am a FIGHTER and this CANCER WILL NOT WIN!”
The next year seemed to crawl by. My Mom was my rock, supporter, caregiver, reassuring ANGEL. I thank God for her everyday. I really do not know what I would have done without her. I guess the moral that I have learned from this story is that no matter how strong you think you MAY be, something like cancer will come into your life and turn it upside down in a split second. It’s up to you to reach deep down and find your inner strength and FIGHT BACK! Going through this has taught me so much about myself that I probably would have never discovered.
Keep Fighting Back,
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.