When you’re the editor of an on-campus publication and you’re a full-time student taking 18 credits, you’d do almost anything for a break – just one second to breathe. Not me, Sir.
I love the rush. I love the busy life. Most importantly, I love school.
And, illness took that away.
My alarm rings. Obviously, I press snooze 15 times before I actually drag myself out of bed. I stuff my face with cereal, my Keurig brews Starbucks’ best, I grab it and I’m on my way to magazine editing.
It’s 9 a.m. on Nov. 12th – just a regular Tuesday morning, or so I thought.
It’s 11 o’clock. Class is over. I go to Health Services and complain about a persistent dry cough that has lasted for two to three weeks.
At midday, the PA sends me for an x-ray.
Within minutes of doing so, the radiologists rush me into another room for a CT scan. What is going on? I thought, hmmm, maybe I just have bronchitis? Pneumonia? But, that be too simple for my complicated life.
It’s 2:30 now. I anxiously sit in the waiting room.
At 3 p.m., I get a shuttle back to Health Services and my world turns upside down.
“Well, Teresa, you have a mass in your lung. It’s almost the size of a tennis ball. It could be benign; it could be malignant.”
What do you mean? I might have cancer? Right now? But, I’m only 20-years-old. PSH! Teresa, be real, cancer doesn’t give two shits about how old you are.
“Call your mom.” No.
How is that even possible? How do you tell your parents the worst news you’ve ever heard in your entire life? How do you do that without breaking their hearts?
My life is a movie. Cool.
The PA grabs the phone, explains it all, and mom’s off to book flights and organize doctors appointments.
“If your family doctors are in Florida, you need to be there by tonight. You need to have a biopsy done tomorrow.”
“No, actually, my magazine launches next week. I can’t leave. I have things to do.”
“It doesn’t matter. Your health always comes first”
I know it does, but I still respond, “It really doesn’t….”
There and then, I burst into tears. All I have ever known is work. I pull all nighters as if it’s my primary job, I go above and beyond in every project I do just to stand out, and I stress for no reason – but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t know life without the hustle.
As the PA said, “It doesn’t matter,” right? I’ll be off to Florida in the morning whether I like it or not.
I cry, I moan, I scream.
And I cry.
Where did that get me? Nowhere, really, but it’s a bit of an emotional relief.
I watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians for 3 hours, and cry a little more (you would think that their pathetic lives might have made me feel better about mine – that was not the case).
My head is all over the place. This, that, there, then, who, what, where, when, why – “why” really stuck though.
Why me? Why now? Why this? Why, God? WHY?
My aunt gave me a quote that stuck with me:
“Sometimes when you wonder why you can’t hear God’s voice during your trials, remember the teacher is always quiet during the test.”
So, God is with me. At all times. I just have to believe that his presence and love will be enough to pull me through whatever I have ahead of me.