My Breasts Are Trying to Kill Me, So I’m Saying Good-Bye to Them

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.

 

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43 thoughts on “My Breasts Are Trying to Kill Me, So I’m Saying Good-Bye to Them

  1. Gwen, I am so sorry to hear this.You are an amazing women and I like your attitude. You and your family are in my prayers. Heres to kicking cancers butt and I know you can.

  2. I am SOOO HERE WITH YOU/FOR YOU! We don’t see each other much, but i think about you often! I want to help any way I can and fight this alongside you! Lean hard into God! You got ths, Girl!!

  3. Holy Moly!!!! What a whirlwind you have just gone thru! I love you! I will be praying for you constantly! I have no funny stories right now…..but give me time and I’ll come up with one….maybe after I quit crying! You have this thing beat before it can take over. Holler if you need anything….kid watching, house cleaning (except I refuse to dust!), ride to places, coffee or even a margarita, errand running….let me know. 🙂

  4. I’m not really much of a prayig man but for you will gladly do so. My mom was diagnosed at 41 (a late stage three) and underwent much the same procedure–double mastectomy, chemo and radiation followed by reconstructive surgery. It is not an easy road, but I know you can do it, girl. Let your love of God and love of Ben and the boys be a source of strength, hope, and inspiration. On May 20th, 2012 my mom celebrated he 63rd birthday and has been cancer free for more than two decades. Cari wishes you the best. We love you.

  5. We are here for you and your family. We are all prayers for you and a healthy recovery. I am sending my love to you above and beyond sister. Gaurdian Angeles be around you and heal you.
    The Petry Family

  6. I have been in the fight since May 2011. I won, well it came back three months later so here I go again. You will find cancer patients have the best sense of humor for the most part. The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. ~Ralph Waldo
    Emerson

    In my prayers.

    • Thank you for that. An amazing quote that is exactly what I needed to hear. I appreciate your thoughts. I’ll be praying for you. Stay strong my friend & fight hard.

  7. I’m sorry you are going through this, but it sounds like you have an amazing support system and a great attitude. I started blogging at the beginning of my own cancer journey and it really does help process what’s happening when you put it out there. Best of luck to you.

    • Thank you for sharing. I just read some of your blog and can’t wait to read the rest. I already have some questions for you!

  8. Gwen, I only know you thru Echo…but I will pray for you, your family, the doctors & nurses that will care for you. No one knows why or how come…here’s hoping the Damm cancer will be gone soon.

  9. We’re pulling for you. A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago in her 30’s. A mastectomy, a lot of screaming and crying, and a couple rounds of chemo later she has been in remission for 3 years and just adopted her first child. It’s rough while you’re in it, but your surgeon is right; it’s not a death sentence.

  10. I was 34 when diagnosed with stage 3 b metastatic cancer. I have had 7 surgeries in 2 years to get me ” healthy”. You WILL do this… I worked through most of my chemo ( took 3 months off after double radical mastectomies/ lymphandectomies and adrmycin chemo (reddevil) …). I even ran m first triathlon during my last chemo treatments and 8 1/2 week radiation therapy. You CAN do this… I raised two children , a husband and had a 94 year old grandma whom I cared for after work/ evenings/ nites while going through treatments. You MUST do this… Because the world will not be ok without you !

  11. Gwen I had no idea about any of the until kristy posted something and I’m just stunned to tears for you. I got diagnosed with thyroid cancer during my last pregnancy and there is nothing scarier than hearing those words you have cancer. My cancer is nothing compared to yours by far nothing like it. I will pray for you everyday and I will put you on every prayer board I can find. Our God is bigger than this and I pray you have strength and wisdom and that God wills be done! Let me know if there is anything I can do for you!!!

  12. You have my thoughts and prayers! I have no doubt you will kick this cancer’s ass and your boys will grow up knowing they have one of the strongest moms ever!

  13. Gwen, Lina and I are praying for you and the family. Praying for healing and that God will get glory from this trial.

  14. gwen, praying for u and hubby and boys , u can beat this, the gwen i remember is a fighter and i will be here if u need to yell at someone . love u girl

  15. I am 35 and a 10 year breast cancer survivor. I done the double mastectomy, the chemotherapy, the 6 reconstructive surgeries, the waiting, the crying, the swearing, the hoping, praying, barfing, praying, recovering, growing up, everything. I live in Colorado Springs, I’m a friend of Jeny Marvin, and while I am sure you have a ton of support, I’m here if you need to talk/laugh/swear/cry. Praying for your journey!

    • Thank you. Do you have any advice for things to have on hand when I come home from my mastectomy? Pillows, shirts, comfort items?

  16. Gwen you know Shelia Buice is a breast cancer survior and she would have insight into this I will be praying everyday for you

  17. Gwen, You don’t know me but I know your friend Nicole Chacin. I just wanted to tell you that growing up on of my friends moms had breast cancer and also had to go through what you are with losing both of her breasts. I don’t remember much about it because I was little but I wanted you to know that she is alive and well today. She got to see both her kids graduate and go to college and she lives a happy, normal life. You will get through this because God is good, God never changes, and God loves you. You are in my prayers 🙂

  18. I have not personally experienced breast cancer, but my mother has….so if you want to laugh, I can share a giggle with you.
    My mother is (was) a big gal. As in, her boobs were BIG. My sister and I always joked about them, saying that if God changed His mind and sent another world-wide flood, mom’s pontoons would keep the whole family afloat. Then breast cancer hit. Mom caught it early. She had a mastectomy, and the lymph nodes were clean. Mom was able to avoid chemo. 🙂
    But we still joke about it. We keep telling mom she walks in circles now. That she’s starting to lean to one side a little too much. But the best one yet is, since she can now only rescue half the family during a flood…. I’m tripping my sister 🙂
    Find joy every day. It’s always there, even if you need to hunt for it. God will see you through, Gwen!

  19. We’re praying for you all and can’t wait to hear about your journey and success story..So many people have already shared some great ones here in response..Had no idea how common this is until you gave the statistics in your above blog post…Looking forward to seeing God use your story to touch other lives…we’re rooting for ya’ here in Georgia Bulldawg Country!….

  20. Love you so much. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me this morning at 4 am as I sat at my computer, tears streaming down my face. I hope you got my message. If not, I just wanted you to know that your mother playing the guitar at Sharon to Psalms 1 and your father making sure a needy child always won his amazing chalk drawings are my most dear memories from children’s church. You come from a long line of amazingly devoted and strong people. You will overcome this! Love you and praying for you!

  21. I am 34 and have the BRCAII gene which means I will get breast cancer at some point, usually very young and very aggressive. My husband left me when he found out my best option was to have a double mastectomy. I am a single mother of a beautiful 6 yr old daughter and I just completed my last phase of reconstruction after my double mastectomy. It was the best decision I made. Being a mother is the greatest gift. You will be stronger for all this. You will be a survivor! God Bless!

  22. Gwen,
    My name is Billy and I am Liz’s friend Cory’s sister. I just wanted you to know that you have an amazing attitude and I believe that you will come out of all this stronger! I know you don’t know me but if you ever need someone just to vent to or lift your spirits you can call me anytime. Your boys will look back after they are grown and be so proud and impressed by how strong you were through this all. I will pray for you and all your boys. Please don’t hesitate to call if you need anything Cory has my number.

    You’re are an inspiration,
    Billy

  23. I just found you via a Retweet by Karen Sugarpants. I admire your candor and the power of your words, and I just wanted to tell you that I intend to keep reading and supporting, and I can’t wait to see you beat the shit out of cancer.

  24. Gwen, I know you are going to kick cancer’s butt! It really does help to get mad at it, and make sure that the cancer knows you are fighting it! I am praying for you and your family, and cannot wait to share your successes with all the people I am asking to join in prayer with me. You are an inspiration and an incredible lady, but we all knew that before your breast were trying to kill you!!!!! Love you tons! I can hardly wait to hug your neck!

  25. I missed this over the weekend, and when I saw your tweet this morning, I ran to your blog to see what was going on. I’m so, so sorry. It’s going to be hard as hell but your doctor is right — you’re NOT going anyway. There’s too much left to do and this is going to be a short, albeit annoying and painful, bump in the road. Besides, who needs boobs? They just get in the way anyway. 🙂

    I’ll be thinking of you and rooting hard from Florida for you.

  26. Take 2. If I’m spamming you with a second comment, please delete one of your choosing…

    But as I was saying before my WP log-in cut me off … I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I hate when people say things like this are character-building. Your character is doing just fine. But I will say that knowing what little I know about your character from afar, you’re going to dominant this battle. Forget the Army — YOU will be a weapon of mass destruction against cancer. Keep that fighting spirit alive and think of how much fun it will be to have the boobs of your choice!

    And just know that people far and wide are on Team Gwen. Cancer doesn’t stand a chance.

    Thinking of you and your family.

  27. Gwen I am so sorry that I haven’t really been in touch for a while. I am thinking of you and wishing you the fight to fight this horrible thing. You have a lot of people standing behind you! Keep being strong!

  28. I am in awe of you! I am praising God already for the success I know you will have. I am a bit jealous and the great new boobs you get to have being as mine have headed south😁
    My phone number is 719-235-6725. I thought I still had yours but I don’t. Please call or text me.
    I would like to be there for you and your men folk. Thank you for sharing your story. Keep your faith strong. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are here to stand in the gap for you. We will hold you up. Please lean on us. Miss u! Love u! Praying for you!

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