I have breast cancer. Actually, I have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. Here’s how it started. Two days after my surgery my doctor called to let me know the results were in and they weren’t good. My husband was shocked. He had no idea what to say.
That Thursday night was rough. I knew I had a cancer in my breast and it could have been invading my entire body. He told me that Monday I was going to have a double mastectomy. I had to wait until Friday to really talk about and ask questions. I asked him if I should start planning my funeral and saying goodbye to my family. He said absolutely not. He told me this was not a death sentence, I will live. It was the longest Thursday night I’ve ever struggled through. Thankfully, my husband was calm and just held me while I screamed and cried. I started to lean on him and I know I’ll be leaning on him for a long time.
I’m 33-years-old. I have no family history of breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. This wasn’t supposed to be happening to me. I could only pray and ask God to get me through that night. I decided to keep a positive outlook in front of the boys. We aren’t going to talk about it in front of the boys. They know I’m sick and the doctor is going to help me get better. I’ll work hard to keep their life as normal as possible.
Friday I woke up ready to find out what was going to happen and what was invading my body. Thankfully, my friend offered to take my boys for the day. They headed off to the zoo and I headed off to see my surgeon.
I’m so frustrated with the entire thing that I want to hit something, really hard. I’m angry and scared and completely overwhelmed.
My surgeon is amazing. He is a breast cancer specialist. He started the breast cancer program at Evans Army Community Hospital. He is thoughtful and he let me interrupt. When I cried in the middle of our conversation he tells me it is OK and completely normal. It hasn’t been 24 hours from the time I found out about the cancer and I’m discussing what happens after a double mastectomy.
They’ll send the entire breasts off to pathology, along with my lymph node. In about a week we’ll know if the cancer has invaded the rest of my body. No matter the results, I’ll be facing chemotherapy. During the mastectomy they’ll put in a port. The port will be the gateway between medicine and my body. The port will give me a better quality of life.
I stop the surgeon, because I have to say this, I have to tell him what I can’t stop thinking.
“I don’t want to die. I have two boys and they need their mother. I want to take them to their first day of school.”
He responds, “You’ll take them to school and you’ll be there to see them graduate from high school.”
After he laid out my plan of surgery, new boobs, & chemotherapy, I headed to pre admissions to get ready for my Monday surgery. After giving blood, peeing in a cup, and letting them know I was coming, I headed to see an oncologist.
Remember, my husband is in the Army, so this surgery and all the doctor’s are Army. My surgeon did remind me, at one point, “The Big Green Machine” was behind me and they took care of their own.
The oncologist was not Army. Rocky Mountain Cancer Center is a wonderful place tucked in downtown Colorado Springs. The doctor there explained that they were there for treatment. They were there to help me decide the best kind of treatment and help my family and me deal with everything that was to come. After only one visit with them, I know they are going to be instrumental in my survival. They will help me explain to my boys what’s happening and how to keep living.
I learned that breast cancer occurs in 1 out of 7 women in the United States. It isn’t a death sentence and women go on to live long lives. I didn’t cause this and if they knew why it was happening, it wouldn’t be happening. Success is highly related to attitude. If I get depressed, hide away, and give up, it will just make me feel worse, my family will feel worse, and it can impact my chance of living.
I’ve decided we’re fighting this cancer head on. I want to laugh my way through this scary experience. I can’t wait to have amazing new breasts that aren’t trying to kill me. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I want my friends and family to fight with me. Let’s get mad and be angry and then let’s get on with it. I want to be one of the statistics of women who beat this disease.
Please pray for me, send me success stories, tell me the best jokes so I can keep laughing. I’m going to share my journey with you. Please keep my boys in your thoughts and prayers. Stay tuned, it’s going to be interesting.