The Big Test

How one woman learned to treasure and celebrate every single day.

BY: T. Suzanne Eller


"I can't believe you tell people your age," my friend commented.

Hey, I don't mind. Really. In fact, I love my age, because every single birthday means more than just presents and chocolate cake.

The day I heard the word "cancer" spoken by my doctor, my life turned upside down.

"I have a test on Monday," I said foolishly, thinking that the doctor would postpone surgery so I could ace my humanities test. What I didn't realize is that I was preparing for the biggest test of my life.

Within hours I discovered that I did have cancer. It had spread to my lymph nodes. I learned at 32 years of age to face mortality. Every time the doctors entered my room, they walked in with bad news and one more specialist. One white coat meant cancer. Two white coats meant chemo. Three meant radiation. Four meant detection of another possible tumor.

At one point five doctors stood around my bed. It seemed fitting because the statistics dropped to a 10 percent chance of surviving five years. One doctor for each year I might live.

There were a multitude of reasons to stick around-a husband of 12 years that I loved a whole lot and three beautiful children that were clueless to the plight of their mom and dad, but who gave me daily strength in their innocent love and handmade gifts that hung on the hospital wall. To this day, I still have a crayon picture of me resting in bed, with a large head and larger lips, with a thermometer sticking out of my mouth. The words, "get well so u can com home" was my mantra.

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