June 24, 2020
Holly Has Cancer
In 1995, I graduated from high school…but not without some trials first. About a month before graduation, dad noticed something wasn’t right – with me, my body. I had been losing weight, but looked like I was about 6 months pregnant. He finally convinced my mom to take me to the doctor’s. I knew something was wrong, but was scared to say anything.
To say that the month before graduating wasn’t trying, is an understatement! Homecoming – I went, but wasn’t really allowed to do anything else. Prom? Yeah, a friend had an overnight party. I was allowed to go swimming, but no horseplay or rough housing.
The day I was to graduate, the doctor’s diagnosed me with ovarian cancer. They didn’t know for sure, without operating, but were pretty certain. They wanted to operate that day. But mom said no! She is graduating today, and she’s walking across that stage!
I was operated on June 10…five days after graduation. The doctor even postponed his vacation to do the operation. When the doctor came out and told my parents that I did have cancer, my dad collapsed, even though they were told that the longer I was under the more likely it was that I had cancer. One of our family friends caught my dad before he hit the floor.
I was in the hospital for over a week. I was in so much pain, having been cut (for the first time) from above the belly button to my pelvic bone. The first few days were a complete fog, I was so doped up on morphine. I do remember my English teacher coming to visit, opening my eyes long enough o recognize her before falling back to sleep. I couldn’t get enough! Dad stayed with me the whole time. The hospital staff pulled in a cot for him to sleep on. They allowed it because the pediatric ward wasn’t full and they didn’t need the other bed in the room I had. This was back in the day when hospitals still had semi private rooms.
No matter how much my mom tried, she could not convince him to come home – even for a shower. After I started getting better, I convinced him to go home, take a shower and get some sleep. He didn’t stay gone long.
At this point, I still wasn’t getting out of bed. It hurt way too much. They also wouldn’t release me until I was walking some distance. So, with dad’s help, I first started walking to the bathroom and back. Then, down to the nurses’ station. Then, down the hall. One day, dad helped me walk down to the nursery. I bawled my eyes out! I already knew that the chances of me having a baby were slim.
The whole summer was spent getting chemo – two weeks on, one week off. Within the first week or so, I had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the chemo on the way home. We had to turn around and go back. They gave me intravenous Benadryl…and was completely out for the next couple of hours. I’m sure my mom called my dad from the treatment center. This was before cell phones were popular. From that point on, when I went in for chemo, they had to give me intravenous Benadryl. I always fell asleep, mom having to tell whoever took me to bring something to do.
Little did I know that about three years later, I would be the proud mother of a baby boy, providing my parents their only grandson.
Holly and her dog Gracie
1995 or 1996, after chemo when hair started growing back
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