This story is by LRW and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Life’s Curveball (Sydney)
“Treatable”, the doctor had said, before panic or fear could completely take hold of Sydney, she focused on that one word. Sydney disconnected the call on the Bluetooth in her SUV. It was a Friday night and she was 15 minutes from home, driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. Dr. Brock Yates’s words reverberated in Sydney’s mind. She couldn’t believe it, she had cancer. Dr. Yates, said that he would email Sydney the diagnosis, since she was driving and could not write it down. Sydney couldn’t wait to get home and check her email for the information that Dr. Yates promised to send.
Upon arriving home, Sydney quickly removed her coat and shoes, located her notebook computer and turned it on. After locating Dr. Yates’s email, Sydney read her diagnosis, endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer (stage 1). Dr. Yates also provided the names of 2 Gynecological Cancer Doctors. Sydney then proceeded to Google, endometrial cancer. She read the description from the Mayo Clinic Website, “Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus. The uterus is the hollow, pear -shaped pelvic organ in women where fetal development occurs.” Sydney continued reading the information presented on the Mayo Clinic website, symptoms, causes, risk factors and prevention. Not only did Sydney absorb everything on the Mayo Clinic’s website, but other websites with information related to endometrial cancer also. Due to the fact that it was Friday evening, Sydney had to wait until Monday, to call the gynecological cancer doctor.
After arming herself with all the information she could find on endometrial cancer, Sydney made phone calls to family members to inform them of her diagnosis. All of the information that she came across online, confirmed the treatable prognosis given by Dr. Yates. Sydney spent the rest of the evening reflecting on her life and decisions that she had made.
Sydney, mused to herself, girl you are 45yrs old, no children, no husband and a boyfriend you should have let go a long time ago. Ruminating about not having children is painful and brings to remembrance a decision Sydney made 20 years ago, that decision may have just saved her life, the decision may have been the best bad decision of her life. Sydney considers herself to be a good Christian, born and raised in church, Sunday School teacher and member of various ministries, but made a decision that most people including herself would consider bad. At the age of 25, Sydney found herself pregnant and faced with the decision to terminate the pregnancy or have a baby and force the father to be a father, when he did not want to be a father. Sydney was torn, she knew she was wrong when she became pregnant using deceit. Although Sydney knew that God is forgiving and all she had to do was confess her sin and she would be forgiven, which she did, Sydney never forgot and felt bad about the decisions she made.
With the expectation of getting married, Sydney and her boyfriend Ayden Wilcox, had been trying to get pregnant for the past 5 years. They finally decided to seek professional help and after extensive research, they visited a fertility clinic.
It was after reviewing an x-ray of Sydney’s fallopian tubes that Dr. Yates saw something that looked irregular. Dr. Yates, scheduled Sydney to come in for a procedure where she removed tissue from her uterus for a biopsy. Sydney, you are young and your records do not indicate an issue, so I don’t expect anything out of the norm, stated Dr. Yates. Thanks Dr. Yates, I was really getting scared, responded Sydney.
Sydney was nudged out of her ponderings by a familiar song playing on her cell phone, she looked down and smiled knowing it belonged to her niece, Camille. Hi baby, Sydney said answering the phone, hi auntie was echoed from the other end of the line, and to Sydney’s surprise and delight she recognized her nephew Cayden’s voice on the phone as well as her niece. Auntie, how are you doing, asked Cayden, granddad told us about your condition, Camille asserted. I’m doing well, it’s so good to hear your voices, as soon as I receive more information on my condition and the next steps, I will call you, okay auntie they answered in unison. Sydney loved Camille and Cayden as if they were her own children, she was in the delivery room when they were born and she helped raise them. Sydney was there for every birthday, graduation, promotion, basically every milestone in her niece and nephew’s life. As a result of circumstances relating to Sydney’s sister and brother-in-law, Camille and Cayden lived with Sydney for the first 15yrs of their lives.
Sydney called Dr. Bradford’s office early Monday morning and made an appointment for Wednesday of the same week. Sitting across from Dr. Bradford, the gynecological cancer doctor on Wednesday morning absorbing his words, Sydney experienced a sadness and a sense of loss that she has never before felt in her entire life. Sydney, my recommendation is to schedule a hysterectomy and then chemotherapy, says Dr. Bradford. Hyste…hysterectomy, I stutter in a hushed voice as Dr. Bradford stares at me with concern, are you okay Sydney, he asks. Almost in a trance, Sydney schedules the surgery for two weeks later.
Flashbacks of her life and what ifs plague Sydney during the 2 weeks before the surgery. Although, she didn’t feel as if she was missing anything in her life by not having children of her own, due mostly to having helped raise her niece and nephew, it just seemed so final now, it would no longer be an option. Sydney was not quite sure how she felt about her situation. Sydney thought about Moses, from the Bible and how he disobeyed God and was not able to cross over to the promise land. Sydney new she was no Moses but wondered if by terminating her pregnancy, this was somehow God saying, because you did it, I will allow you to experience the joy of seeing 2 children come into this world, experience holding them as newborns, caring for them, going to parent/teacher conferences, taking them to bring your child to work, company picnics, but because you terminated a life, you will not get to feel a baby grow in your womb or birth a child. Yet, had Sydney allowed the baby to grow and given birth, Sydney would not have gone to the fertility clinic, Sydney would not have had the x-ray that showed the irregularity that caught Dr. Yates attention.
Breaking her melancholy mood, Sydney felt a calm and peacefulness in relation to what she was now considering the best bad decision she had ever made. When she knelt down and prayed that night she left the burden of what she had done over 20yrs ago with God and finally accepted the forgiveness of God, that He promises to all believers that confess their sins to him.
Sydney’s surgery was a success and as she sits across from Dr. Bradford he explains to her that because cancer cells were also found on 1 ovary, he recommended an additional surgery to remove her omentum (double layer of fatty tissue in the lower abdominal area) to ensure cancer cells had not spread to her stomach. Sydney thought about the fact that Ovarian cancer for most women does not have any symptoms in the early stages and a woman her age who had not gone through menopause may not have been diagnosed correctly with Uterine cancer either had she not made what she again realized may have been the best bad decision of her life.
Praise and worship is in full effect Sunday Morning at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, a month after Sydney’s surgeries and she had a testimony that she couldn’t keep to herself, Sydney proceeded to tell the congregation that she was thankful to God not only for Life, Health and Strength but for being God. She relayed to the congregation how after receiving a diagnosis of Cancer, and having two surgeries in two months as well as chemotherapy, that her heart was full of gratitude to God, because when the doctor said cancer, he said stage 1 and treatable, when he could have said terminal and no treatment. When the doctors said standard chemotherapy, they could have said aggressive chemotherapy, stated Sydney. She continued, relating that one doctor referred to chemotherapy in her case as insurance, which made Sydney reflect on her car insurance which she has in case she has an accident, she would be covered. Covered for Sydney is a powerful word, her mind flashed back 20 years to what she referred to as the best bad decision of her life and believed with all her heart that God had her covered, by allowing her to experience motherhood through her niece and nephew and by allowing her full recovery.