My name is Lauren Crain and I am 31-years-old. I am a surgical neurophysiologist who lives in Dallas, Texas with my girlfriend of eight years and our dog, Luna, and two cats, Dirk and Fynnagin. We love to try new restaurants and drink lots of coffee on the patio with our dog. In December 2018 I was diagnosed with stage IB grade 3 endometrial cancer, after previously being misdiagnosed with uterine fibroids earlier in the year. I had a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy the day after Christmas and am currently undergoing radiation treatment. Because of my young age and how aggressive the cancer was I had genetic testing done and found out I had Lynch syndrome with an MSH2 gene mutation which predisposes me to endometrial and colorectal cancer among others.
In the months leading up to my diagnosis I had been misdiagnosed with uterine fibroids. One of my main symptoms was sever abdominal and back pain and a handful of times this pain sent me to the ER. The first time I went to the ER was late at night and my girlfriend had just flown in from out of town. She was really worried so I reluctantly agreed to go. I was not really the hospital going type. I had never really been sick or broken a bone or had surgery so I didn’t really want to go but the pain wasn’t getting any better.
After they brought me back they told me they would get some blood work and take me to get a CT scan. I had been throwing up all night and once again I started getting really nauseous and went to the bathroom to throw up. After a couple of minutes my girlfriend came in, and I could tell by the look on her face I must not be looking to hot and she was concerned. She started rubbing my back and obviously not really knowing what to say or do to help goes, “Hey babe, so are we waiting on the results?” In my head I was thinking, “Are you kidding?? We just got here.” So I just spewed out, “I don’t know,” mid puke.
The next day some friends came over to check on me and see how I was doing and I told them this story and we all just started laughing. Probably to anyone else who doesn’t know her or hasn’t been in a similar situation, they may think it seemed like she was being insensitive, but really she was just trying to be there during a rough time. A lot of times you don’t really know what to do to help but her just being next to me was more than enough and now it’s a running joke between us. We will just randomly say, “Hey babe, we just waiting on the results?” You just have to learn to laugh and find the light in difficult seasons of life.
Going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment isn’t just difficult for us as patients, it is also hard on caregivers. They see that you are struggling and cannot do much to physically help and that can make them feel helpless. So be thankful for the people in your life who go to all of your appointments, pick up your meds, help you off the floor and support you and help you navigate this crazy life.