*His name was changed, because frankly, I can’t remember what it actually WAS! lol
“Hey Kandice, you have a phone call!” I locked up my cash register and ran down the incline to the customer service desk where the phone had been pulled up to reach the desk and grabbed the receiver thinking: who on EARTH would call me here rather than just waiting until I get off work. I looked at my manager, a man I’d known about two years, and suddenly didn’t want the phone call after all. He had a look of
sheer panic worry on his face as he pushed the reciever in my direction.
“This is Kandice.” “Hey Kandy, it’s *Michael from from the doctor’s office.” “Oh, hi. What’s up?” “Can you have someone drive you to Vanderbilt right now?” “Um, well no I’m working but I’ll just walk over when my shift is over.” “No, I’d really rather you come now and don’t come alone.” “Wow, ok I’ll ask about coming now but you have to tell me why so I don’t worry all the way there please.” “Remember we drew blood when you told us you had missed two periods and the pregnancy test came back negative?” “Yes, and are you about to tell me I’m the next recipient of immaculate conception?” (no laughter from him… this CAN’T be good) “Ok well, you’re blood test came back and I need to see you.” “Are you going to tell me or make me suffer?” “You have a brain tumor. Can someone drive you?” “Um, no, I’ll be ok. I’ll just walk over.” “Ok, I’ll wait for you at the ER door and we’ll walk up to the MRI room together. Ok.?” “Yeah.”
I handed the phone back to my boss and stared blankly. He asked me if I was ok and I said rather matter of factly, apparently I have a brain tumor and need to go up to Vandy right now for an MRI. So, I guess the answer is no. He said he’d drive me there but I really felt like I needed the walk and the quiet between the small grocery store where I worked and the hospital where I was going to have the MRI. I don’t really remember the walk. I do remember walking into the ER and not seeing Michael, the intern anywhere so I just asked where to find the MRI waiting room and went there. I sat down and waited. I had the impression that the MRI was waiting for me, but was told once I arrived that I actually would need to wait until a spot opened up between emergencies. So, I decided I didn’t really want to be there alone after all and called my friend Shawn who seemed to arrive within seconds (although I’m sure it took her at least an hour to get there from Murfreesboro where she was in school) We sat together silently (the word brain tumor at 20 tends to silence most people) Then, Micheal arrived. I didn’t recognize him in his street close and backpack, as I had only ever seen him in his “intern clothes” (read scrubs). He walked up and smiled at me and sat down saying, I didn’t want you to be alone. Sorry I missed you at the ER. I just smiled. “So, brain tumor huh?” Not exactly sure the response I was expecting. “Well, yes, but let’s see what the MRI shows us before we talk about specifics ok?” “Ok then”
Turns out, I did, in fact, have a benign pituitary tumor called a prolactinoma that is basically an uncontrolled growth on your pituitary gland that stops your periods and can cause you to lactate and without successful treatment can lead to infertility, vision loss and or total blindness. After some research on my part and the very real and appreciated support of my wonderful intern (doctor) we found the right medication for me. It shrank the tumor (which meant no surgery..YAY) reinstated my periods and had no impact on my vision whatsoever! Talk about blessed! Finding the right medication was no walk in the park but we did it. This left me with only one bit of bad news to swallow: Thanks to this tumor I was going to be unable to have children.
To know me NOW is to know that was like a death sentence to me. To know me THEN was to not realize how devastating that ‘life sentence’ was because I felt I wasn’t allowed to say that all I really wanted was to be a mom and every single thing I studied was toward the goal of making me a better wife and mother when the time came. I studied social work, I studied the facts about this tumor, I took my medication and began spiralling into a very dark, quiet, angry depression. I broke up with a young man whom I loved very much b/c I felt that I could not give him what he wanted anymore. I dated other people who were a waste of time and energy because there was no point in being choosy now. The depression worsened and went undiagnosed and untreated. In fact four years went by the last of which I was dating a man whom was kind but dishonest at first. Later he wasn’t so kind and I still couldn’t bring myself to leave. I stayed on birth control despite the ‘infertile’ diagnosis because I knew WITHOUT A DOUBT that in spite of how much I wanted children I did NOT want them with him. We used protection as well. Then, one night, after having gotten back together after yet another attempt at a break up we slept together and (without getting too graphic) when it was over I knew the INSTANT I was pregnant.
Absurd, I suppose it would sound that way to some. Nonetheless, I KNEW. When I was a young teenager I knew for weeks before I started my period that it was coming. I could feel things happening in there that I’d never felt before. I could actually FEEL my ovaries ‘revving up’ as it were. Same here. I could FEEL the change. I could feel what seemed like electricity inside my womb. I remember thinking: “what the hell was THAT?” I felt a little sick and a little worried and a little excited. I just KNEW. I pushed it out of my head thinking. NO WAY! You know what the doctor said and for goodness sake you are as protected as a human being can be in the situation (having been on the depo provera shot for a year, and having used condoms as well as having been told by this partner that he was also infertile). Some time passed and I started having symptoms of pregnancy. I bought something like 10 tests and brought them to the house I was dog sitting in. I used three or four before I finally sat on the edge of the tub staring at four plus signs and thinking: “Holy Lord Jesus, there is a BABY inside my body.” Then thinking: “DAMN IT! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW while simultaneously thinking HA! SO MUCH FOR DOCTORS!”.
I called my best friend Jenny, we had a good cry while we talked about what in the world I would do. I briefly considered not telling the boyfriend, thinking I wanted to make the decision on my own and I DEFINITELY didn’t want him parenting with me. Then almost in the same breath said, no, he IS the father and God MUST have a plan for this little one that includes the man who helped create it. I don’t want to start anyone’s life with a lie. The next call I made was to the doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to verify the painfully obvious. Then I called the (by now) ex-boyfriend to tell him the news.
It still amazes me how in a split second the blinders of depression and loss are wiped away by an unexpected, unplanned, undeserved and undeniable MIRACLE. God, gave me the baby I wanted all my life. Now, I had to start the journey of trusting Him with it literally EVERY single step of the way. I was nothing, I had nothing, I could give nothing to another human being beyond what He gave me to share which was Love. That is LITERALLY all I had. I sat on the edge of my bed once I got back to my dorm (which not for nothing, was in a southern baptist university, in whose values I did not agree or live) I sat on the edge of my bed and I got out a notebook and a pen. I started a journal which was ultimately one very long prayer to God and love letter to the baby He gave me. Page one says nothing but: “I have NO IDEA what Your plan is, but I trust You and I THANK YOU for giving me a dream come true, a miracle I could never deserve and a dream come true. Please, Please help me know the right thing for this baby and do it. No matter what it is. Amen. Life as I had known it had changed forever. Again.