I was diagnosed with breast cancer on November 23rd, 2016 at 12:30 pm, my father’s 60th birthday. I was with my mother, Hillary and Rebeka, all of us falling to the floor. I barely remember those days, I think I blacked them out. How did I even work? How did I function? Since then, I’ve received 16 rounds of chemotherapy; 4 AC & 12 taxol. I have gotten blood drawn 20+ times and have taken 10+ pregnancy tests. I have cried, maybe, 30+ times. I have a port placed in my chest that looks like a marble under my skin. I have 6 new scars; 2 being greater than 3 inches long across my breasts and 2 foreign objects that I now call my boobs. I went for my radiation simulation the other day in which I gained 7 new permanent tattoos surrounding my right breast so they know where to radiate.
One would think when the doctor tells you, you are “cancer free” or NED (no evidence of disease), your life would be incredibly peachy. While, yes, it is quite good, but life is still hard.
I am recovering well from surgery, hitting all the marks I should be, truly feeling like I’m moving forward. There was a day when I cried twice during a 15 minute period while trying to take off a dress over my head because I just couldn’t move my arms in the direction I wanted. No one was there to help me and I thought, “am I going to have to keep this dress on until Kim comes home?”. Eventually I got it off and the tears continued as I laid in bed thinking how fucking helpless I was. Helplessness is a pain worse than any surgical wound, muscle pain or chemo. It hurts your soul.
Every single thing that happens to me, I think, “is this cancer?”. How long will this last? My neck muscle is sore from the muscles in my armpit being cut during surgery and it is causing me to feel like the glands are swollen in my neck. Are they though? Then I keep touching them to see if they are swollen, is that making them swollen? Or are they swollen because there is some sort of cancer that got through the cracks? These are constant thoughts in my head. How long will this last? A year? 5 years, until they say my risk really goes down? Forever? I’m not sure.
My hair has started to grow back, it’s less than an inch long. Some of the hairs are longer, but they are the blonde whisps that started growing right after chemo. I’m not at the point to wear no wig yet, however I wear a baseball cap majority of the time. (Just felt my neck glands). The hair everywhere else is growing like a weed and it’s annoying!
I will be starting radiation on July 27th and my last day will be August 30th. I’m excited to end radiation before September and start the Fall off on a new leaf (Fall, leaf, not on purpose). After radiation I really feel like the worst is behind us. All of us; me, Kim, my family (Kim’s family which I include in my own) & my friends (which I also include in my family) and you all (hey, you’re family too!).
I have gained all of these permanent markings on my body that you can see as well as ones that you cannot. My heart has grown a few sizes like in The Grinch. The love for those around me has grown. My love for technology has grown. My love for medicine has grown. (Just felt my neck glands again).
I will never be the same person I was. The person on November 22nd, 2016 is not the same person I am today. I am thankful for this ride in ways you wouldn’t expect and won’t understand (and hope you never have to). I hope I have taught you things during this journey as well. Are we on the home stretch? I guess you can say we are. We’ve got this!