And then I exhaled.

FlakeYesterday I received a long awaited phone call. It came in the early, bitter cold morning. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had been waiting for this phone call for 3 long months. And here it was. I began to shake uncontrollably. My Doctor. My Results. I held my breath. I paused and planted my feet firmly on the earth. Grounded.

Nicole. You’re all clear.

I sobbed. And sobbed. And felt the weight of a thousand worlds lift off of my shoulders. Years of stress. Months of worry. Gone. Just like that. In one split second. Such lightness, I felt. The Relief. My God! It overwhelmed me.  I thanked My Doctor for being My Champion. For not being complacent. For following up. For caring.

I do not have cervical cancer.
And I owe that to him.

I rarely get super personal here. So much so, that you probably didn’t know my real name. (It’s Nicole, by the way.) I run. I ride. I swear like a pirate. I am often silly. I am sometimes serious. All of that, you already know.  I had mentioned that I had had some surprise! surgery, but that was really it. I left it at that. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would ever mention it.  But here I am. Eternally grateful for an outcome I hadn’t counted on, but blissfully accept.

Here is what happened. It was an ellipsis on a very long life sentence. Everything snowballed the day after I ran my 50K. Horrible pap results. A procedure- a colposcopy. Even more horrible pathology results. Have a very surreal discussion about cervical cancer.  Cancer is right there, waiting patiently. Surgery- an aggressive cervical excision and cauterization.  And?  Horrible margins. Avalanche. Heal. Run a Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park. Worry. Run the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Worry more. Begin to accept the fact that I am quite possibly going to have a hysterectomy. I will have never have had children. Cry. Run more. Stress. Decide cancer is screwing with the wrong broad. Get angry. Run harder. And yesterday?  Relief. Utter relief.

My point in sharing all of this with you?

Go for you annual gynecological exam. Insist on a pap smear and HPV test. If it comes back abnormal?


If you are a man reading, insist that the women in your life do so. Cervical cancer is curable…if you catch it.  I am proof.

I slept like a log last night. For the first time in a long, long while. I finally felt like Nicole.

And I exhaled.


85 thoughts on “And then I exhaled.

  1. Wow, I’m a new reader to your blog and I’m in tears. I had a similar scare a few months ago (lump in my breast) and it’s terrifying. So happy you’re ok and hope others get exams based on your experience (seriously go to your gyno exams- we ALL hate them, but they might save your life!). I hope you’re able to exhale and enjoy now. All the best!

    • I am relieved for you! PHEW! We’re not quite as heavy around here usually, but this certainly needed to be talked about. šŸ™‚ Is it inconvenient? Yes. Do we love them? No. But IT IS IMPERATIVE. To our health! Cheers!!!

  2. I am so very pleased you have been given this good news. Thank you for sharing and if it reminds or encourages one woman to get her exam (I too received abnormal results) it will have been something.

    • Thank you Ange. šŸ™‚ That is my precisely my hope. Cervical cancer rates have decreased over the years because of early detection. Women lacking regular care sadly, have had the highest rates. Thank you for your kind words. Xo

  3. Well, you know my feelings on the subject. Is it coincidence that I slept like a log, too? I think not. I have been walking around with a smile on my face since the call. Can’t wait to celebrate tomorrow. xxooox

  4. Smooches to you my fierce friend!! Lump scare here a couple years ago and with my moms history I was a quaking mess. Thanks for the reminder…I’m due to get “the works”. Love you!!!

  5. Oh damn, can barely see the keyboard to type. S’okay though, because COLBY IS IN DA HOUUUUSSSSEEEE!!!! Time to crank up this crazy party we call life, grab it by the horns, and take it for all it’s worth. PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR CHICA! I know I will be this afternoon at this great little bar on the water I know in Fort Lauderdale. Jealous? šŸ™‚

  6. Oh my goodness!! You poor thing, carrying all that worry around for months, dealing with the very beast that you fight so hard against every year. Thank the Lord you’re ok!!!!!!

  7. So glad to hear you are okay. I’ve had my own run of abnormal paps, colposcopies (I’ve have 4 now) and a LEEP procedure. Worst is they never tell me if I’m good, they just phone every 6 months and say I have an appointment. It’s always this fear in the back of my mind!

    • That was my story as well. And I am sorry you are going through all of this. I know just how you feel. I have been so surprised at the number of women who have had issues. But that’s why we go and get screened. Imagine if we didn’t? The best news is that you are on top of it. You are being proactive about your health. Stay the course and follow up. Knowledge is power. My fingers are crossed for a positive outcome. I’m thinking of you, Lady!!! xo

  8. Thank goodness, and congratulations! I went through a similar though not quite so serious progression (abnormal pap, colposcopy, biopsy, not bad enough for surgery so let’s wait a while, follow-up colposcopy, biopsy, still abnormal but not bad enough for surgery, let’s wait a while and see what happens, follow up, all clear) when I was only 22 or 23, and it was absolutely terrifying. I’ve had totally normal results for years now, and every time it’s relief all over again.

  9. Oh my dear the tears are flowing over here. I am so thrilled that you got this wonderful news and I wish I could give you the biggest bear hug EVER right now! Such an important message to pass along as well. ā¤
    I'm so thankful that you're okay. ā¤

    • Overflowing with gratitude today. The tears dried up and were replaced with the biggest smile I EVER! Hugs back at you, Friend. And Happy Anniversary! I’ll raise a glass to you both tonight! Cheers!! xoxo

  10. Hugs and kisses to infinity Colby!!! I’m so happy to hear your amazing news!!! Anyone who receives positive news when dealing with cancer or potential cancer gets double the love šŸ™‚

  11. Tears…lots of tears. I supervise a Pathology lab, and see cancer daily. I fear it quite honestly having seen the havoc it causes people’s lives. You’d think that would make me smart. Nope…I haven’t been to the doc in 4 years for a check up…but found a suspicious mole that could be melanoma. And the fear of cancer is very real. My appointment is in a few weeks needless to say.
    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy you are in the clear, so happy you are smart and followed up. May many learn from this post. Thanks, Nicole. xo

  12. I wondered where you were. If you saw some random hits from Australia that was me checking to see if the reader had done something funny and not put your blog in the list. What can I say but thank goodness! I am so happy that you were able to exhale, breath and be ok. It sounds like the toughest of tough times. So glad you are ok. Thanks for the reminder. I kept saying ‘after the marathon’ I will get checked and I did and all clear. I love your blog and I love your perspective on running and life. Just so glad you are ok (having a little cry of happiness here) xxx

  13. Wow, this is such great news…and man, I cannot imagine how you must have felt (well, actually I can ~ and that exhale must have been a great feeling). Perhaps the better feeling was the next breathe knowing that a lot of life is still to be lived fully ~ so happy for you. Take care and enjoy this weekend like no other ~

  14. Brilliant news and thanks for sharing such an important message. It’s all too easy to avoid going for checks because it’s uncomfortable/embarrassing, but better that moment of discomfort than the possible alternative.
    I recently went for a smear test and it was unpleasant – everything was just “wrong” that day and the nurse ultimately wouldn’t do it as it was going to be too painful. She was lovely though and encouraged me to return a week later to have the test and said not to worry (easier said than done!). Thanks to how great she was, I did go back (and yes, I’ll admit to worrying about it) but this time the test was much more comfortable and, on this occasion, the results were all fine too. It would have been so easy to ignore it and not go back, but I know how important it is to be checked so I went. As such, I’m glad you went, I’m glad the problem was caught early and I’m glad you’re all clear now šŸ™‚ All women need to be as vigilant about getting regular checks.

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  16. So happy! Thank you for sharing and for being a champion for self-care. I think that time of year is coming up for me. I have taken note, and will ask for the test. ā¤

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  23. Hugs. Yes, it’s important to get annual check. Some years ago I had an abnormal reading and they monitored me for over a year. Luckily it resolved itself without needing any intervention, but it could have just as easily gone in the other direction. One of my friends had cervical cancer and got surgery with good outcomes.

    Happy that you’re fine now. It’s an enormous relief. I know I felt it when I was cleared and what I had was nothing compared to your situation.

    • It was terrifying. The whole damn experience. I am relieved you had a positive outcome. I still hold my breathe every time I have to go in. But fortunately, all is clear. I am hoping that it remains so. If not? We’re taking it out- hysterectomy. No ifs, ands or buts. When you’re given a second chance, you take that bitch. And move right on along. šŸ™‚

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