Monday, November 7, 2016

My Cancer Diagnosis – How My Left Breast is Trying to Kill Me

[Warning: In this post I talk about my boob. A lot. I also curse and talk about medical things, so if you’re squeamish, probably skip this.]


About six weeks ago, after experiencing a sharp random pain in my left breast, I found a lump. My first thoughts: HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANCER. After an hour of online research I calmed down. I’m young and cancer doesn’t usually hurt. It doesn’t make your breast swell to twice the normal size. It doesn’t come on suddenly. Self diagnosis, I convinced myself I had a cyst. They’re common in my family.


I went to my doctor who also agreed it was probably a cyst but ordered a mammogram and ultrasound just to be sure. I was still convinced it was a cyst. Up until the moment when the big boss radiologist came into the room and she told me that I had three solid masses in my breast and one in my armpit. My thoughts at that moment? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.


Back to HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANCER. Because although I’m not a pessimist, I am a realist. They don’t order a biopsy for no reason. A single mass in my breast may be benign, but three? And one already in my lymh node? Yeah, that has got to be fucking cancer. I called my sister to warn her. She cried. I told her not to cry. She cried some more. My husband and I talked about what to do if it was cancer and decided not to fuck around. To do whatever it took to get better.


The next day I had to go back for a biopsy. I needed four total and for each one they covered the spot in iodine, gave me a numbing shot, and shoved a super long needle with nifty vacuum suction action to take samples. Then they put a titanium marker in the spot to show where the sample was taken. (Yeah, was hoping it would make my boob bionic, but sadly, no.)


Rinse, repeat. The whole thing took four hours. Then they did another mammogram to make sure the markers were in place. If you don’t know about mammograms, they are not gentle. They took my already punctured, aching breast and placed it in a big machine where it was squished between two glass plates. Then they needed the side view. My poor boob was not happy.


Fast forward to Saturday, ten days ago. My doctor calls. I know it must be awesome news because, what doctor doesn’t love to call patients on a Saturday? Well, the cells were malignant and at 35 years of age, HOLY SHIT, I HAVE CANVER.


I’m starting chemo next week. I don’t know how I’ll react, so though I’ll probably be around on social media, I might not always respond right away if at all. I’m going to conserve my energy to work on my latest contracted novel.
So how am I feeling? Angry but hopeful. I have a great cancer team and am otherwise healthy. I have a good chance of coming out of this less one boob, but very much alive. Please share your stories of cancer survival for yourself/friends/and family. I would love to hear them!