In this picture, I was living with cancer; but I didn’t know it yet.
Ironically, this photo captures one of the happiest moments of my life: All of my babies together for the very first time. This moment happened while I had a foreign invader inside my body. I look at this picture of a blissful family moment, Daddy not pictured since he was unloading all of our hospital bags, and all I can think is, “NIKKI, how can you not FEEL this nearly 10cm mass constricting around your HEART? How have you gone through this entire pregnancy or longer with this invading mass inside your body without KNOWING it is there? Why don’t you FEEL it? But I didn’t know about it, and I didn’t feel it. In point of fact, the only thing I was feeling was bliss…and some post-cesarean surgery pain. Later this very night I began to feel other medical complications, landing me re-admitted to the hospital the next morning, but those complications were due to preeclampsia from my pregnancy/birth. Thankfully, those complications are what ultimately led to the discovery of my cancer. But if not for those complications, I would still be blissfully unaware, living my day-to-day life and all the while growing and feeding this cancer. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink (other than the occasional social beverage). I could stand to eat healthier and workout more, but overall I *thought* I was a pretty healthy 33 year old.
Cancer happens. It’s indiscriminate. It doesn’t care how old you are, how healthy you may be, or take into account what is already going on in your life. Cancer can happen to anyone. So know your body. Go for annual check-ups. Do what you can to check for the cancers that can be discovered by self-examinations. (You can check yourself for skin, breast, testicular, and oral cancers at home. Here’s a link with ways to do so: http://cancerliving.today/cancer-symptoms/how-to-check-for-cancer )
And on that note, I welcome you to my new blog site documenting my journey as I battle this cancer. I’ve created this blog as a way to express my innermost thoughts and feelings, and to offer anyone who would like to follow my journey some insight into what I have been/will be going through during this process. Thank you for caring enough to read my updates. Thank you for fighting alongside me. Thank you for being one of my many reasons to fight. God bless you.