Month

October 2015

So I have cancer. Now what?

So I have cancer. Now what?

Once you’re diagnosed with cancer, you probably have the insatiable urge to Google everything about your new condition. That’s fine, I did it too. I mean, I even DEEP Googled like 13 pages into my search, scouring obscure blogs from 2007 with any insights. For me, it was a coping mechanism and something that sort of calmed me down. I wanted to know all the horrific details that may or may not happen to me. That brings me to why I created this blog… there’s a lot of bullshit out there. If you’re looking for trustworthy facts, stick with the websites that end in .gov and .org.

There is not a lot out there on the Internet that prepared me for this. Cancer is a disease that typically affects an older generation, and those people also not the type to blog about it. My grandfather is a cancer survivor (colon) and I am pretty sure he doesn’t know the first thing about creating a blog. He might not even know what a blog is, actually.

Keep reading…

After your diagnosis, anticipate a LOT of doctor office visits. Typically you’ll meet with a team at your chosen cancer care center that includes breast surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, oncology nurses, genetic counselors, and psychological support. You can also anticipate a LOT of tests: CAT scan, PET scan, blood work, EKG, mammogram, sonogram, echocardiograph, genetic screening, yadda yadda.I started with the mastectomy, because at the time chemotherapy was still a “maybe” and we were awaiting tests to decide if chemo was going to work for me.The day of surgery I was actually very calm; I just wanted to get it over with. We got to the hospital at the ass crack of dawn because the doctors wanted to do … MORE tests. A nurse injects me with a “tracer” and then my body is scanned (similarly to a CAT scan) so the surgeons are able to identify the main sentinel lymph nodes in my armpit area. That took nearly two hours. Meanwhile you’re not allowed to eat starting the night before surgery so I’m literally going insane from the hanger (hunger + anger). I couldn’t wait to get surgery over with so I could eat again!

pre-mastectomy
Me and Jeff right before my mastectomy. Cute hospital gown, I KNOW.

Ha-ha, little did I know eating would be the last thing on my mind when I woke up from surgery. The only thing I can think of is the pain. In the recovery area the nurse asks me what my pain level is on a 1-10 scale. I can barely speak, talking actually hurts. Breathing hurts. I mumble that it’s a 12 and she immediately gives me some sort of injection in my IV to help me out.

The first night in the hospital, my boyfriend Jeff stayed with me in my room. I vaguely remember watching “Minions” on his laptop. I was on a lot of drugs. The first time I had to get up to go to the bathroom I threw up in my little puke bucket. Fun times!

But, it does get better. It always does. By the second day I was feeling much better. My parents and Jeff alternated keeping me company in my room, and I was feeling good enough to eat some Chick Fil-a! Yaaassss!

Six days after surgery I was up walking around and I even went to the beach with my sister (for about 15 minutes because it was hot as Satan’s balls out). Don’t push your recovery though and expect to be Superwoman. You still can’t drive, shower, or cook for yourself, so sit your ass down on the couch and enjoy this time. You’re also going to still have drains, which severely limit your life. I mean, you have open holes in the side of your chest with tubes sewn into them and they’re extremely susceptible to infection.

The mastectomy was definitely the hardest part of this whole process so far. If you can make it through that–and trust me you’ll make it–you can make it through anything. Plus you’re on your way to some new boobies! For more info on having a mastectomy see my Mastectomy Survival Guide.

How it all started.

How it all started.

We will start in April 2015. So I have a lump in my right boob. It’s small; it feels about the size of a grape. The thing is, that I’ve HAD this lump for a while, about a year and a half. I first noticed it in the summer of 2013 and back then it was the size of a pea. My gynecologist said to not worry about it, I was 28 and had no family history of cancer but nonetheless she referred me to have a sonogram of the little pea in my boob. The sonogram couldn’t even detect the lump so they said “See ya in a year!” and I was off. During that year and a half time, I had a pretty rough personal journey starting with me leaving my husband of 5 years who was having an affair, then moving, and getting divorced. More on that later (maybe) but even though it sucked at first, it really was a great time of personal rediscovery and new found freedom. During that time I probably partied a little bit too much, worked a little bit too much, and cared a little bit LESS about everything. I noticed the lump was growing, but I thought “I’m too young to get cancer and I’m too overwhelmed to deal with it right now.” It wasn’t until the encouragement of my boyfriend Jeff that I went to a breast surgeon to get the lump removed. The doctor felt the lump, looked at my sonograms, and said he was about 98% sure it was a fibroadenoma but because it was growing, it should probably come out. So I scheduled surgery — it was considered an incisional biopsy, not a lumpectomy — for May 7. A few days later, on May 11, 2015, sometime in the afternoon the doctor called me with carefully chosen words. He was hesitant, “I don’t know how else to tell you this. The pathology report showed that the mass we removed was… Cancer… I’m so sorry”

Keep reading…

The emotions were similar to that of a divorce, actually, so in some strange sense I felt that mentally I had already gone through these steps.

Complete shock/horror/self pity.

“[Crying] Oh my God, what am I going to tell my parents? Why me? CANCER, SERIOUSLY GOD? Am I going to die? How sad is my life! Divorce followed by cancer, people are not going to fucking believe this and how tragic my life has become. My life is pitiful.”

Denial.

“Ok it’s not that bad. It’s just stage one. I barely have cancer. I basically don’t have cancer. I mean, they got it all out in the surgery right. I’m FINE and nobody will even know.”

Seething anger.

“Seriously. Why the fuck is this happening to me. I just went through a Hellish divorce, and now I have fucking cancer. What did I do to deserve this shitty of a life. I’m a good fucking person, I even donate monthly to the Humane Society for God’s sake! FUCK FUCK FUCK.”

Determination.

“I am a strong woman, I can do this. Anything God puts in front of me I’m going to overcome it like the bad-ass BETCH I am. Lance Armstrong won 5 Tour de France titles with one ball, I can beat cancer with no boobs! Cancer you’ve met your match! Let the battle begin!”