A woman looks at the glowing entrance to the emergency room department of a hospital.

My Diagnosis Story: A Wild Visit to the Emergency Room

By the time I got to the front desk and said, "Hey, my hip hurts," my husband was calling me. "Did you just leave the house?"... "Yes"... "Did you tell me you were going to the ER?"... "Yes"... "Do I need to be there?"... "Nah, I'll call you when we figure out what's going on." They took me back for routine vitals and then sent me back to the waiting room.

I was called about 15 minutes later for an EKG and sent again back to the waiting room. At this time, I called my husband and said, "Something is going on. They ordered an EKG."

Suddenly a man with a wheelchair came running up to me and said they needed to take me back. I shakily told my husband, "I think you need to come here. They're taking me back." The next part is terrifying and a blur.

Testing, testing, and more testing

An x-ray tech took x-rays of my pelvis and chest. Then they wanted to draw blood, so they placed my first-ever IV. Then they had me sign for a blood transfusion and CT with contrast. The first IV placement was excruciating. I asked if they could give me a moment before placing my second IV.

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This is where I want to pause and make a statement. If you are ever afraid or unsure of why a procedure is being done or even if you need a moment to breathe before continuing - YOU CAN SAY NO. You can tell the nurses and doctors to stop and let you collect yourself or wait for your support to arrive.

I didn't know this. When I asked for a moment, as I was now basically hyperventilating, the nurses said, "You are sick! You need this IV now!" And they pushed me down in my bed, held my arms down, and shoved the IV in my arm multiple times - multiple times, missing the vein. I was screaming. They finally hit a vein and let me go. I curled into a ball and just sobbed.

My first CT scan ever

At this time, my mom was driving up from Tallahassee to Atlanta because I did manage to get a call into her. My husband was confused about what was going on. I needed to drag my IV pole down a long hallway to pee every 15 minutes. Barefoot in a paper gown because no one would give me socks or even a blanket to cover up with.

Then I was sent back for my first CT ever. The contrast dye burned. The sounds scared me. I was in so much pain. And I just cried the entire time. They wheeled me into the hall and left me there for about 20 minutes before returning to my little curtained corner in the ER. By this time, it was noon. My husband was pacing, begging them to give me something for the pain.

Then a female doctor that I only remember as Dr. Patel. She pulled back my curtain, stepped in with her assistant, and said. "We found a mass. We think it is cervical cancer." She tapped my shoulder and said, "We will give you a minute."

I remember this moment with absolute clarity.

"It's this, it's that"

Fox News was playing on the little TV in my corner. There was a lady puking in the next curtain over. A man was peeing loudly in a bedpan on the other side. In slow motion, I turned my head to my husband. Saw his eyes grow almost too large for his face, and I lost it. I couldn't believe this was real. It couldn't be happening.

Barely seconds later, a 2nd doctor walked in. She was with the gynecology oncology department. I don't remember her name. She asked some history questions. She said, "Well, this might be ovarian or cervical cancer, but I don't think it is. I think this is urological." She walked out, and a urologist walked in. I don't even remember this man's face. "This can't be urological. You are too young. This may just be a sarcoma." Yet again, another doctor, "Actually, we think this is lymphoma."

By 3 pm, I had been diagnosed with 5 different cancers. A group of doctors were arguing outside my curtain, and I had to make the hardest phone call of my life to my mom.

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