5:30 A.M. alarm goes off. It wasn’t a bad dream. I lay there and think about going to work. I had every intention last night of going even for a half day. BUT, now that I remember my bad dream is real, I don’t want to get out of bed EVER. I lay in bed crying. I feel so angry at my body. BETRAYED. How can my body betray me like this? I have nourished it with nutritious food, worked it’s muscles hard, sweated, stretched……………..all for what? I joked with Travis last night that I am going to start eating cheeseburgers and bacon again. I may as well. Right? My way of life; being a vegetarian; obviously had zero positive effect. Instead, now I have cancer growing inside me. CANCER. Every time I say it, my eyes fill with tears and my ears push back the word like they don’t believe it either. CANCER. My brain can’t comprehend. My heart sad. CANCER. My body–what about you? You shake with fear, but you betrayed me after I have taken such good care of you.
Who knows so far? My sisters, Travis, Kevin, Ann…………… Alethea keeps checking in with me. I can tell she is worried about me. The phone never stops ringing from 8:00-5:00. So many conversations–my head is spinning. Then an angel appears–Nurse Sharon. 2 hours I spend on the phone with her. Tears flow like a stream. She has answers. She has reassuring words. She understands because she is a breast cancer survivor. What does she know?
Tumor: 1.5 centimeters
ER and PR positive
Appointment of September 21st to meet with the Cancer Team at St. Joe’s
She tells me that I must have angels from above watching over me; because I am getting mammograms at 38 and because the radiologist noticed the abnormality. I begin to think yes I do have things to be thankful for. But, it’s very hard to be thankful when less then 24 hours ago I found I have cancer.
Then I call my obgyn to find out her take on the pathology report. She says “Based on all of the calcifications I am sure you will need a masectomy”. Did she say masectomy? Masectomy? My breast being cut off my body? But, the tumor is small!! My mind starts spinning out of control. I immediately get on the phone with my sister, Alethea. She is livid. She can’t believe that she would even guess the course of action when she’s not the cancer doc. I know Alethea is right, but I also know what I heard. The word “Masectomy”– on the list of “Top Ten Words A Woman Never Wants to Hear”. And she said it to me like she was telling me I was having chicken for dinner tonight.
I told the kids tonight. First mine. Later Travis’. I didn’t shed one tear. I jumped into my Wonder Woman costume and put on such an act of bravery that it was Oscar worthy. I cut straight to facts; that it wasn’t their fault, its not catchy like a cold, that we are going to do everything to not have their lives change…. Gabriella started crying; not because of my cancer, but because she thought we were going to cancel her birthday party. Travis’ boys worried about missing soccer. How do you not love their egocentric kids responses? So normal. But now it will be my time to be egocentric—something that is the opposite of who I am.