July 2017, at my daughter’s high school graduation party, I felt a lump. A very distinct, like someone had stuck a marble in my bra kind of lump! How come I had never felt that before? How could I have missed it? There was no question, this was bad. My feeling was not “Oh no, I have a lump”, it was “Oh no,I have cancer!” I knew immediately what it was and that it was bad.
What was I supposed to do? I had 50 people in my backyard, I couldn’t just announce… “Hey I have cancer!” So I had a few drinks and tried to forget until I could tell my husband after everyone left.
The mammogram showed nothing… they did it three times, but at the ultrasound the doctor looked at the screen and turned to me and said “I am sorry, I don’t need a biopsy to tell me this is cancer.” There it is..you are never the same again.
So, on my kids first day of school, I had a double mastectomy/reconstruction, followed by 12 weeks of Taxol and 14 Herceptin infusions, ending in October 2018. I had Stage 1 Triple Positive Breast Cancer and it had not reached the lymph nodes.
There are so many more stories to tell: The 4 ports because that was a disaster; baldness, pretending to feel okay; starting a new job that introduced me to LIVESTRONG; wonderful friends who convinced me to join them in starting a Pan Mass Challenge Kids ride to raise funds for Dana Farber; Shannon, who I barely knew and who showed up at my door with presents and a shoulder to cry on; and many more.
I am a very lucky person, I have wonderful family and friends who rallied around me and got me through it. Someone once told me “It’s the club you never wanted to join, but you are and you are not alone and we can do this, if we support each other!” Now it is my turn to do the same for the people in my life.
I am a different person, a better person. I know I should say survivor but I still deal with it every day, the PTSD, neuropathy, Lymphadema, Tamoxifen and its side effects. Honestly, to say I HAD cancer seems weird. I don’t think I will ever feel that it is truly gone. But my motto the whole time was and still is “Fake it till you make it” and that is what I do for my children, so they don’t have to worry about all this.
My husband bought a notebook and would write everything down… our questions, the answer, his fears, my fears, all the medications, doctors appointments, chemo appointments. He would let me be in the moment and not worry about the details and just keep track of it all. It was a life saver.
I highly recommend that anyone going through such a health scare to get one. Whether it be this one or just one from the dollar store, it was a lifesaver. For all those people looking to do something for their friend or family member who was just diagnosed, I recommend getting them one. It was so helpful.
If you have recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and are completely overwhelmed, this book, You Can Do This My Friend – Breast Cancer Journal & Planner. Keep Your Thoughts, Questions & Life In Order, is for you. A journal/notebook to keep track of all the details was a lifesaver for our family. 50% of all profits go to Mass General Cancer Center. This book includes:
- 200 pages of journal/notebook pages to keep you organized and on track.
- Doctor & specialist details
- Prescription details (which you always need)
- Pages of appointment prep, daily inspirations, journaling space and lots of room for note taking.
- Available in paperback here on Amazon for $12.99