The more time I spend in hospitals and at doctor's appointments, the more it feels like my life is an episode of Grey's Anatomy or something. Like, geez, man.
Seriously, life is a little insane right now. I meant to have already posted this week, but well, I honestly just didn't know what to say.
Now, I finally have some answers.
Hi, I'm Natalie Van Hecke, and I had cancer. We don't know if there's anymore in my body, but it is known for a fact that my tumor was cancer.
Today, we saw my genetic counselor. "Genetic counseling is a process to evaluate and understand a family's risk of an inherited medical condition. A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with specialized training in medical genetics and counseling."
It was a really informative session, actually. Very overwhelming though. We went through an entire family history, talked about why I was there, how young I was, and what could possibly causing all of this. And, honestly, I'm just ready for some real answers.
Look, it was already really hard dealing with the fact that I had a rare tumor in the first place, and then I found out it was cancer (I mean, I had my suspicions, but still). And, now, we're trying to see if I have this rare condition that goes with it that makes you more susceptible to tumors and cancer. And, we're also trying to see if I have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, or Von Hippel Lindau syndrome. Which MEN means I'm more likely to get NETS in/on my pancreas, the glands on the outside of my thyroid, and in/on my pituitary gland. Which, if you don't what a pituitary gland is, it's a gland inside of the brain that regulates the hormones of the body. It's often referred to the as the "master control" of the endocrine system -- You know, that super important system of your body that regulates metabolism, tissue function, reproduction, sleep, food, sensory perception, movement, stress, and other things. And, we're trying to see if it'll come back.
That, and apparently, my tumor is such a freak rare type of cancer that I made the tumor board! (Click the hyperlink if you don't know what it is) But, seriously, my life is like some crazy episode of Grey's Anatomy.
And, another thing!
Look, I appreciate everyone's love and concern, but before you start me your well wishes, please understand something. I put it in a list, to make it easier.
Sending me links to magic ju-ju beans or supplements and crap that supposedly cure/prevent cancer is not helpful.
Asking me questions about my condition before you even ask me how I am is not helpful.
Acting like I owe you information when you spend no time with me and make no effort to truly support me, is not helpful. I don't mind sharing if you ask, but understand if I don't share.
When you have/had cancer, people look at you differently It is exhausting because no one treats you the same and it's incredibly difficult to even be out in public. I never want to leave my house because I don't want to answer questions, and I don't want people to give me those looks. Gosh, the looks alone are awful. So, if we have plans and I cancel, or if I don't want to make plans, please try to understand.
DO NOT TELL ME THE "Oh, so-so and so had cancer" STORY. Don't. Just don't. My situation is unique to me, and me alone. It DOES NOT help me to hear about how your mom's cousin's friend had cancer and then DIED. Please, don't share these stories. These just do more harm than good. I need stories with hope right now, not ones where people die.
Telling me about your life is helpful. It helps to hear something other than cancer talk.
Ask questions. I appreciate it when people want to know what's happening, how I felt, and other stuff. I have no problem chatting about it, but don't act entitled to the information. I've been running into a lot of that lately. But, feel it out first. It's fairly easy to see my mood in relation to the questions, so if I don't want to talk, don't push it.
Don't be Suzy Sunshine. Don't give me the "Look on the bright side..." speech. Everyone's always telling me to be positive, and to look on the bright side. But, you know what? I've lost something. Having cancer means I've lost something. I get to grieve that loss. And, I'm allowed to be nervous! I'm allowed to be pessimistic sometimes! Don't force me to be positive and happy all of the time.
What is helpful is genuinely asking me how I'm doing, tell me you're there for me and mean it, offer me support and love. Let me know I'm not alone. If you want to help, that's how. And just try your best to understand.
If you know my momma, ask her about how she's doing. She's amazing, but this whole situation is really weird. This tumor is so rare that my mom keeps getting asked by doctors if there's a chance her and my dad are related (they aren't). So, it's overwhelming and frustrating for us both. So, be sure to check up on her. She deserves the love!
ALSO. Hopeful quotes and Bibles verses are always welcome! Recommended books, movies, shows, and songs are all welcome too!
Love and prayer are the biggest help you can give!
If you want to pray for me, ask for specific things you can pray for. Feel free to write my medical appointments, scans, tests etc. on your calendar so you can pray specifically for those things and follow up with them. I really appreciate those kinds of things!
Please keep in touch!
And, as always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through any of my social media accounts. They're all listed down below! I can also be reached through my website, too.
Date Written: Wednesday, November 11th, 2019 at 1:37pm
Favorite Song: If You Need Me by Julia Michaels
Current TV Binge: Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney Plus+
Something I'm Grateful For: Disney Plus+ and all of my favorite shows on here <3
My Favorite Food: Zuppa Toscana