Shannon Paige – TRANSCRIPT
It’s 1994, and I’m in the barn with my first husband, and we’re putting away our horses for the night when the barn phone rings, and it’s my mom. And she skips over all of the niceties, and she says very clearly and urgently: “I dreamt that you are sick, alone and dying.” Well, I fell silent, but because it was true. It was a perfect mirror to the words I’d gotten earlier in the week: “Cancer, cancer, cancer,” and hadn’t told anyone because that was all too real, and realness was something that I couldn’t quite deal with.
So I said, “Momma, I’m so sorry, but I have cancer. And I guess I haven’t told you because I’m confused and I’m scared.” And my ex-husband, obviously overhearing all of this that he had not heard, seemed unaffected. And he went through and did the rest of his barn chores, and then he walked over quietly to the barn doors and turned off the barn light and walked out, leaving me to finish my call with my momma in the dark.
So, I walked into the house, a few moments later, somewhat prepared to face his reaction, and instead of turning away from the TV, he yelled over his shoulder, “This’ll be the last time we talk about this, and you’re going to be just fine.” You have to understand, I’m 21 years old. Alone, I faced the diagnosis of a lifetime, cervical cancer. The treatment? Radical hysterectomy.
Radiation? Survival rate of 90%, but no kids. And all of this news was delivered really professionally and seemingly thoughtfully, but with a really kind of quick, “You’re so lucky.” Well, I did not feel lucky. In fact, I would like to give the luck back. And so, refusing to accept the unacceptable, I did battle; I battled cancer.