Thursday, June 11, 2009

The best kind of bad news

I know I'm a day late. Sorry.

I needed a few hours to wrap my mind around the news I got yesterday. The news was not good, but on the scale of catastrophic news, it was the best kind of bad news.

I have early stage, non-invasive breast cancer. My life is not in danger. This will not kill me.

Still, though, when the radiologist dropped the bomb on me yesterday, I was stunned. I have thought all along that this is "the sky is falling" kind of medical hysteria. So big deal, there are some calcifications. 80% of calcifications turn out to be nothing.

Wouldn't you know, I'd fall into the 20%? I do love to distinguish myself among my peers, but trust me when I say, this is NOT the time to be in the minority!

Anyway, my mom beat this two years ago, and I will beat it, too. I am definitely facing surgery, probably just a lumpectomy, but we will know more after an MRI and some genetic testing. At the very least, I will have a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation therapy. At the most, a double mastectomy.

It is scary to know that this puts me at a higher risk for invasive cancer down the line. And it is almost more than I can bear to consider a mastectomy at 41. You don't realize how attached you are to these things until you think about waking up one day without them. Although the prospect of a fresh perky pair is not too depressing, now that I consider it.

Mentally, I am in a decent place right now. I'm looking at this like a really bad broken arm. It is a hassle. It's going to take some time and money to heal. I'll have to take some time off work and more importantly, some time away from family, that I had not planned to take. My quality of life will be gently compromised.

But very few people die from a broken arm.

I also believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that this has happened for a reason. There's a plan out there for me that I didn't get to write, and I don't get to approve. I don't understand it, it's not clear to me, but I still believe there's a plan, and this happened for a reason.

What's the reason? Who knows! Maybe my scare will encourage one of you to have a mammogram, and that mammogram will save your life. Maybe a group of us will walk together in the Komen someday, (I will be the one in the pink survivor's shirt), and the money we raise will be the money that goes to the doctor that finally figures out the cure for breast cancer. Maybe it will strenghten my relationship with my husband, a friend, my daughter, my mother, my sister. Maybe I will meet a lifelong friend during my seven weeks of radiation. Maybe I will learn I am stronger than I think, or maybe I will finally learn to let others help when I need it.

It's not my plan, so I don't get to understand the reason. I get to live it and hope I learn the lessons that are set forth for me.

Regardless, we have a rough plan in place, and the important thing is that this thing won't kill me.

I have good health insurance, a very understanding group of bosses, and the best support group a modern superhero could ever ask for.

Thank you all again for you thoughts and support. The waiting and the worrying is crazy scary, and just knowing I have an army of friends, real and cyber, makes me feel like I'm almost invincible.

If you've not had your mammogram this year, go get one. And do it now.

Ever forward friends, and as my friend Stu says, F Cancer.


Chad and Mary Kate Martin said...

F cancer indeed! Send that evil troll away -- it's powers do not work here!

Anonymous said...

Well don't I feel like a shithead.

After your rocking awesome comment you just left me, I was like "I have to go take a look at her blog" and then...hello humility.


Thinking of you and I have no doubt you will beat the beast with bells on.

Mouthy Housewife said...

You have an amazing point of view on life, one we should all adopt. - Keep us posted. We're all here for you.

Jessica TMH