“You have to be ready for battle!”
When I was first diagnosed with cancer we waited to hear if it was Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I read that Hodgkin’s had a higher survival rate. That was the one I wanted to have and that is exactly what it turned out to be. After my second round of chemotherapy I received a phone call from my oncologist in Ventura, “So, it looks like you actually have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Your slides were sent to Stanford and they diagnosed it as large B cell lymphoma. We have to make some changes to your therapy.” I was devastated and on top of that my hair had just started falling out.
The change in my attitude, my body, my spirit, everything was noticeable. In my mind, my opponent had changed in the middle of battle and I wasn’t prepared.
My Aunt Susan made a call to her primary care doctor and before I knew it we were on our way to his office.
As I walked into the building, I personified defeat. My feet shuffled on the floor and my shoulders slouched forward, heavy with the weight of the world. They called me back. I shuffled behind the nurse, she got my vitals, then I shuffled into his office with my aunt following in hopes that this doctor could work a miracle with my spirits.
So… tell me, what’s going on?” Dr. G asked. “Well, my diagnosis changed and now I have the bad kind of cancer. I thought I knew what I was fighting, but it changed. Oh and my hair is falling out, my stomach hurts… things aren’t great.” I said through tear filled eyes.
Then Dr. G, who is an Irishman, with an Irish accent, brown eyes, dark brown hair, and a thick brown mustache, walked up to me, looked me in the eyes, and said:
“You are preparing to go into battle. This is war you are going into and you need to be prepared. You have to be ready for battle! I am your General and your oncologist is the Lieutenant and we will devise a plan of how to win this war. You are not alone in this battle.”
Then he looked at me, clenched his fist and said, “Battle! Battle! Battle!” My sorrow for myself had dissipated, I wiped away my tears, clenched my fist, and said, “Battle!”
What just happened? This was the strangest and most wonderful speech I could ever receive from a doctor. It was as if I was getting a speech straight out of the movie, Braveheart. Somehow this helped me feel like I had some sort of control over the situation. I was going into battle and I would fight. I walked, nay, marched out of his office. My shoulders back, my head held high. I only saw him a few times more, but he had done his job. He prepared my mind and spirit for what was ahead. I was ready to take on the world, and most importantly, I was ready for my “battle” with cancer.