Let’s rewind to last year, I was working out with my sister at the gym to being called into the ENT office 6 hours earlier than my scheduled appointment. “Caitlyn, this is bad. I know it is cancer.” She tried to reassure me that because my appointment was at the end of the day, maybe the doctor wanted to leave early that day. My gut feeling told me differently.
We headed to the doctor’s office. Caitlyn, Jake, and Levi stayed in the waiting area, while Dr. Chetan revealed the biopsy news. It was stage 4 Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma caused by the EBV Virus other wise known as Mono the “kissing virus”. Even he was shocked at the results. I immediately started crying. That feeling…that moment…I will never forget for the rest of my life.
I still can recall the room I was sitting in. Looking out the window through the shades, I called Craig in Vancouver. My whole body rushed with emotions. They felt warm and tingly. I could feel the tears just forming in my eyes. Every muscles started trembling, and I never felt so alone in my life. It was me against the death card. The staff immediately got my sister. I remember looking at my boys and started bawling harder. The thought of them not having their mother devastated me. Jake looked deep into my eyes concerned. Then I remember thinking to myself, “Nicholle stop crying now. You can’t show your kids fear.” At that moment, I knew I had to be strong and get ready for the fight of my life.
I remember calling the hotel in Vancouver. I had trouble getting in touch with Craig due to the time change. It came to me to text, Cait Neil, to see if Chris could bang on his door. Thankfully, Jordan was around to wake Craig up from a dead sleep to hear my news. He immediately flew home. The next morning we headed into surgery. Since nose scopes are so uncomfortable for me, Dr. Chetan scheduled surgery the following day for me. He performed a surgical procedure to biopsy the tumor in my nasopharynx area while under anesthesia. From there, a pet scan was scheduled to see if it metastasized in my body.
Here and Now
Looking back to this exact day last year, I am reliving all of these emotions and seeing how I made it to today. I don’t think this feeling will ever go away. Today is a great reminder, how each day is truly a blessing. In a blink of an eye, everyone’s life can change. If that is a message I can relay to everyone, enjoy today. These are three things I have learned; create moments that bring happiness, find the positive in each and everyday, and eliminate stress and negativity.
It brings a smile to my face, that I am truly blessed and grateful to be here. This journey has taught me so many lessons, and it has not just made me a better person, but also created a tighter bond with God. It’s truly an eye opener.
It is times like this that makes you realize what truly matters in life.
15 thoughts on “A Year Later”
With tears in my eyes, I thank you for courageously and candidly sharing your journey … You have definitely made a HUGE pitcher of lemonade out of the lemons life gave you!
Nic you are a true Warrior in every way! You have battled and came out stronger than before. We all battle everyday issues but not the kind of battle you have fought. We realize life is preciously fragile and should count our blessings always!! Stay strong you beautiful,courageous girl! Thank you for sharing your journey💕💕💕💕💕
God bless you. I am 25 years cancer free this year and even today the emotions of remembering the day of diagnosis. I know you will still be looking back on it 25 years from now and grateful for the beautiful life you have. Thanks for sharing your feelings.
I think you are a very strong woman, to hear that diagnosis, it brought tears to my eyes reading it. You are definitely right Nichole, everyday is a blessing and we learn from our struggles. Life is precious, and sometimes you have to fight.. I’m glad your better and it does change you. You have become even stronger, and you have so many people supporting you, from family, friends, the hockey community and people you don’t even know. ❤️❤️
I feel like I know you due to this blog. You are an excellent writer and make us feel your pain and joy. Please keep up the story …we will all benefit and your children will understand what an amazing mother they have in the future.
All the best Nicholle.
Thanks for sharing your journey, live for the moment! All the best to you, Craig and the boys…. Ottawa loves you guys.
I have no words, just tears. I’m so glad you came out swinging and are healthy and happy.❤️❤️❤️❤️
Nicholle it moves me to tears to read this post. Tears of sadness for what you have gone through but also tears of happiness for how you have coped and where you are today. Through sharing your journey you are truly making a difference in the lives of so many people who have or will face challenges and obstacles in life. You are a remarkable person and role model, Craig and your boys are blessed to have you in their lives.
I’ll never forget the day either . I woke up , had a friend visiting me who has been fighting cancer for many years and I read your Facebook. I was confused , curious, scared, worried and every other emotion. I scrolled through all your messages trying to get an answer I didn’t understand what kind of cancer and if your were ok. I called my co-room mom Lauri bower to see if she k ew what it was and couldn’t reach her . I cried all day !!! I was exhausted all day and could t think of anything else. It took a few days before I k ew what was going on. You didn’t want to talk and the last one we spoke was after the miscarriage so I knew the condition you were in then .
I was able to see you in Boca hospital and spent some time together which made me realize you were going to fight and get through this , I could tell by the gleam In Your eyes you wanted to live and you were tough. I played with your hair because I really expected to see you bald and that was my biggest fear. 6 years ago I lost my sister In law to stomach cancer and she was not strong enough to fight and live .
I love seeing the family pictures and how happy you all are !
I love you Nicholle and you will always be in my heart … you have been a mentor and a big sister to Brittany and she looks up to you .
Hugs and kissss
Robin and Brittany reed
Thanks so much Nicolle. Your works have match my heart through this journey .
Early on I found the quote by Timler ..
“You can’t stop the storm- so stop trying- What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”
This empowered me to take the only control I could.
hi nicholle, where did they exactly operate for ur cancer?
ur a tough cookie keep ur head up ur gona be ok girl! ur a great role model!
Nicholle, I never realized you were going through this. No one should ever get cancer. But now that you have written this blog, I know you better and I appreciate this. Love, Rebekah (from FAU
Oh wow! What a frightening journey and yet the courage you rallied for your fight! I am praying for you for a complete recovery.
hi nicholle, i am so sorry u went thru this.. it helped me open up about my past in perspective with my brother who used to verbally and physically abuse me… after i developed my career now i sought therapy.. thank u for helping me open up about everything lurking inside me that upsets me to this day. i ve awlays felt shitty about myself and it wasnt till i got into my mid 30s that it really started affecting me and eating me alive inside bc i didnt wanna talk to anyone about it either.. thank u for having the courage to share this with ur readers nicholle and i wish and ur family the very best. stay strong that’s what u taught me …over time, mindfulness works to build and strengthen a brain against anxiety, but there are aspects of mindfulness that can be used in the midst of anxiety to find calm.