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.

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