I’ve always been the kind of mom who tries to be really open with my kids. My daughters learned at an early age that they can tell me just about anything.. I’ve probably been there and done it, whatever it is. So, when the time came to start talking about birth control with Autumn I made sure it was an open topic, letting her know I would be willing to take her whenever she was ready. As her seventeenth birthday came and went and her junior prom passed by, I kept bringing it up.
“No momma, I’m not ready.”
She would smile and blush like I was being ridiculous and so I let it go. Autumn has always been my good girl. A sweet child, she was always reading or singing or playing somewhere on her own. She has a good heart and a good head on her shoulders and I was sure she would come to me.
Last summer, while she was at work Miss Gracie decided (as five year olds do) to empty the dresser drawers in the bedroom they had been sharing since Gracie was a few months old. When I went to clean up the mess I found her journal. I knew she had one but I’d never looked inside. Having kept a journal of my own since I was very young Id thought it would be an invasion of her privacy to read it.
But right there in front of me, in bold black letters were the words “THANK GOD IM NOT PREGNANT”.
I almost cried. I couldn’t believe she’d been lying to my face! And for almost a year! I was angry and disappointed, but more than anything I was hurt. Very hurt. And, after the initial grounding (for the lying, not the sex) I sent her to the local health department for the Depo shot. At seventeen, she didn’t need me to go with her.
She came home with a return appointment and a referral to see her primary care physician. The nurse there at the health department thought she might have felt an abnormality in Autumn’s thyroid gland. I’d just recently mentioned having it checked because she’d been gaining some weight and couldn’t help but to jump at the chance to say “I told you so”. (I was still hurt and feeling petty) The doctor sent her to have a sonogram the next day and said she’d call me the next week with the results.
She called four hours later. From her personal cell phone.
The next month or so seemed to pass by excruciatingly slowly, and yet it still feels like a blur.. From sonogram to biopsy sothyroidectomy..
The surgeon called it a papillary carcinoma. A rare occurrence in someone so young.
After the surgery she started taking synthetic thyroid replacement hormones and she’ll take them for the rest of her life. She’s not happy about it, but she’s alive.
I thank God every day for the mess Gracie made that day. If I hadn’t seen that journal who knows how far the cancer would have spread before we found it. God truly works in mysterious ways sometimes.