One year ago today, July 31, 2019, I sat across from the nurse, my husband gently holding my hand. I squeezed his fingers as we heard the news: I was diagnosed with breast cancer. More specifically Stage 3 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.
My life changed in that surreal moment where time stands still. It was also ironic news, as just 10 days earlier, I had stood at the summit of Mt. Rainier with my climbing team, having raised money for the Climb to Fight Cancer.
I was subsequently told that it would be a rough year, but I would get through it. What we didn’t know was just how rough the second half of my journey would be, with a pandemic raging, protestors looking for justice, our political system a mess, and the loss of a friend.
To quote the Grateful Dead: What a long, strange trip it’s been.
I have had biopsies, imaging and scans, poked and drained more times than I can count, months of chemotherapy and all the pain and discomfort that goes with it. Burnt from radiation and recovery from my double-mastectomy.
I decided immediately I would take you along with me on this wild ride. My first post was about getting that diagnosis: What I Didn’t Know
I then took you along when I had my first round of imaging. It was an MRI that had my boobs hanging through two square holes like that old child’s toy where you put the round peg in the square hole. Also, I tend to write in my head while I run, which is why so many of my posts reference running: The Thirty-Six LONG 5k
You came with me on the Portofino 5k, my own made up ‘fun run’. I regaled you with my stubbornness about not properly covering my port, and you got to come see my first chemo treatment.
You were there when I learned to Just say YES, dammit to so many generous people who just wanted to help and let me know they loved me and my family.
You were there when I was Wigging Out about losing my hair, then having to cut it all off.
You held me up as I fell apart and started Free Falling, feeling the weight of the heaviness that is breast cancer
You cheered me on when I got back up and nervously went back to the gym to see if my arms would pull themselves out of their sockets: Pump You Up
You held me close when my body, feet and hands couldn’t decide if they are made of ice or acetylene torches, the back of my mouth and tongue hurt from chemo and I asked Can I Be Done?
You laughed with me as I spent the month of October donning crazy wigs and creating goofy characters to go with them: My Month of Wigs
You helped me put one foot in front of the other when I just wanted to quit. You kept me Steady as She Goes
The chemo takes it’s toll: Bloody Nose and Sweaty Throes
You kept me grateful as I dealt with Leg cramps and Eyelash Glue
I was Stayin’ Alive like Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever as I ran through severe calf pain thanks to all the chemo.
I did my best to get past the worry and dread, as I started Seeing Things for the First Time
You got me through the sickest I have ever been in my life thanks to a nasty chest infection: Hugs and Sputum. As I read back through this post, I wonder if I had Covid 19….
I got through the sickness and bounced back, thanks to Lizzo, Feelin’ Good as Hell as I rang the bell for the last of my chemo treatments
You got me through the anxiety of the ‘in between’ time from chemo to the impending double-mastectomy. It felt like I was being told to Hold Please
You helped me Rise through the scary waters of my surgery.
Sometimes we are faced with The Facts of Life, when we get unexpected news and just have to roll with it. As I stated in the post, I plan to put this friggin’ cancer in my rear-view as I hit the road this summer on my motorcycle, full-throttle, just like Jo. As a matter of fact, I am riding my motorcycle this Sunday with my middle finger in the air.
You let me amuse you with the boredom of recovering from surgery during a pandemic. Strange Brew indeed.
Starting radiation on April 1st…NO JOKE
As I slogged through radiation, and shitty days, I encountered random reminders to Radiate positivity.
Another milestone in my breast cancer journey, be leaves me Burnt
Sometimes, I just have to get lost in a memory as the world we are in burns around me: Clams On The Half Shell And Roller-Skates, Roller-Skates.
At the end of June, I wait to hear if I am Cancer free? We celebrate by taking the first ride of the season…the first time I have been on my motorcycle in several months.
When will I get my Noobs? The next leg of this journey is just beginning