Before I was told I had a one-in-a-million synovial sarcoma cancer diagnosis, they actually misdiagnosed me a few weeks prior. I had an MRI and a surgery consult where multiple doctors conveyed that the tumor behind my left knee was 99.9% benign. The surgeon even told me I could keep the tumor in my leg, referring to it as a common nerve sheath tumor — a tumor that supposedly, some people live with in their body.
I opted for surgery removal, considering the mass was interfering with my spin practice. (Thank goodness I was a workout junkie) Creating an annoying needle-like sensation on the bottom of my left foot. I honestly thought I was working too much. “Maybe I need a standing desk?” I thought. However, I felt like something was wrong and stayed persistent.
Received a call that forever changed my life
I had the thought-to-be benign tumor removed 12/1/2016. Got a call that forever changed my life less than a week later on 12/6/2016. Was laying in bed, foot propped up on a pillow post-surgery. Working remotely while recovering with a never-ending stream of nurses and physicians calling me to check in. I was annoyed and continued to put them on speaker reiterating…
“Yup, I have my pain meds thanks for checking in…”
“Pain is about a 4, but doing good, thanks…”
“Yes, it’s elevated..”
Then my physical physician was calling me, asking me if I was sitting down.
I blacked out then after and don’t remember much of the conversation. Sobbing uncontrollably as I felt my being lift and hover above my physical body. This out-of-body sensation stayed present with me for about a week. It was like I was living in an alternative reality — like I was dreaming (or I guess having a nightmare) and couldn’t wake up.
The corners of my vision blurred
The corners of my vision blurred and I felt like I was floating lackadaisically from one interaction to the next, while the question
“Why?” played on repeat like broken record in my mind.
When I talk to other fighters and survivors, many have had a similar “out-of-body” experience — I guess staring death in the eyes can do that to you. Although, I do remember vividly stepping back into reality.
My vision became clearer and my body grounded on my first day of chemo at NYU Langone — a hospital that I conveniently moved 9 blocks down the street from 1 month prior. Surrounded by an army of friends and family, it was like my body knew I was heading into battle. I became calm and focused.
Now the broken record of my mind sang, “Move forward” day-by-day. And that I did, we did — my family, friends, doctors, nurses, and everyone in between. We moved forward together.