Where do I begin? Unexpected, devastating, shocking . . .these are some of the words that come to mind when describing the betrayal.
It could be a lot worse.
At least you found out about it early. You’re lucky.
I know someone who had the exact same experience and she is fine.
I know everyone means well and I really do appreciate it. But, sometimes I need someone to say that it’s okay to feel the way I’m feeling and it’s okay if I don’t feel lucky I found it out early and I know that others have experienced this same betrayal and I am truly sorry about that but I don’t want to hear about these stories just yet.
I need some time. I know that I do eventually have to come to grips with it and move on. And, I know this and I will do it. I just need more time to process the pain and disbelief.
What happened? I found out this past Monday that I have breast cancer in my left breast.
This happens to about 288,000 women and 2,200 men a year. Of the 288,000 women, roughly 58,000 receive the diagnosis that I received. I have DCIS which is the earliest form of cancer so I know that’s why everyone is telling me I’m lucky. Lucky is not the word I’m choosing to use to describe how I feel at this moment. Don’t worry. I’ll get there.
I’ve had to go through some rather uncomfortable and humiliating diagnostic procedures to get to this point too. Why hasn’t someone come up with a better way other than smashing your boobs in a vice and then having someone ask you if you are okay?
Um, no. I’m not okay because someone has my boob in a vice and telling me to hold my breath.
Since this is the first time that I’ve had to proceed further than the standard mammogram, there is no way I could have anticipated what awaited me in the diagnostic testing department (aka torture). Have any of you had a stereotactic breast biopsy? I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a mammogram on steroids which includes needles, vacuum-sucking sounds and also nurses asking if you’re doing all right.
Yep, I’m doing just peachy keen here with my boob dangling through a hole in the table that I’m lying on face down while a nurse hiding under the table pulls and twists my boob juuusst so before smashing it in a vice. And then with that awesome vacuum-sucking sound in the background, the radiologist is shooting me with a device that removes samples of my breast tissue. Peachy.Keen.
Did I tell you that they don’t even give you a happy pill or a shot of vodka before this procedure? What is up with that? I know people who get laughing gas just to get their teeth cleaned! It’s a conspiracy against women. It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn.
This unfortunate diagnostic torture led me to an invasive breast biopsy. I am happy to report I was completely knocked out cold for the actual biopsy, but I had to undergo another barbaric procedure the morning of my biopsy. Again, unbelievable. I had to have a wire localization procedure which helps the breast surgeon remove the correct area (I’m all for that). However, again, no happy pill or shot of vodka. Just a boob smash, a “How are you doin’?” and then a needle in the boob leaving some wire behind.
Yep, yep, yep. I’m doing great here while you are sticking a wire into my boob as it’s being smashed as flat as a pancake.
What’s next in my future? Well, seven weeks of radiation and possibly another surgery to have my ovaries removed. I’m not using them anyway. Their removal will put me into early menopause, but let’s be candid here. I’m facing menopause within 5-6 years any way. Hot flashes, here I come!
One of the hardest parts about receiving a diagnosis like this is sharing it with your children. We talk about everything with our kids and have been extremely honest with them. We aren’t whispering the words, breast cancer. We are saying its name aloud and facing it.
This is a journey that I wish I didn’t have to take. But, I will put on my big girl bra and panties and take it.