Cancer, 2 years later. I should pick an ‘anniversary’ date, but I don’t even know which date to pick:
December 21st, the date of the Mammogram
January 7th, the day the hapless secretary called and asked me if I wanted to schedule an ultrasound I had no idea I needed because my GP wasn’t actually back at work yet.
January 11th: the day I got a mammogram, an ultrasound AND an MRI.
January 15th: the day I told my dad. Also the day I found out it was 1.65 cm.
January 23rd: the day my friend called me to tell me I had breast cancer. Officially. Then, the day I posted on Facebook that I have breast cancer.
January 27th: highest of the highs: RETAILER OF THE YEAR. Lowest of the lows: knowing I would have to turn down all the associated perks because fucking cancer.
January 29th, the day I told my kids: Mommy has Breast Cancer.
This is the story of how I got Breast Cancer, with 2 years of hindsight:
it was December 21st and I was 6 months over-due on my mammogram. the tech asked me to stay in my gown. that had never happened before. Then she asked me to take more pictures on a different machine. I knew. right there and then. I have breast cancer. But christmas came and went and no one called me and I honestly didn’t give it a second thought. And then I went to work. and a clueless secretary called and asked me if I had scheduled my ultrasound. What ultrasound, I asked? Dee, my coworker extraordinaire, agreed: secretary with serious lack of life skills. I spent the entire day trying to reach my GP.
The rest is history. A LOOONg day with my friend D. first waiting to get the mammogram results, then an ultrasound and ultimately an MRI. If you have to find out you have breast cancer, D is the calm, zen, Dr-wife friend you want to take with you. I was ready to loose my shit at how long it took. But when the Dr. offered to refund me the ultrasound to I could get and MRI and I saw it as a money grab, D saw it for what it was: bad news that needed documentation.
A few hours later, I left with a CD of my tumour, which I dropped off at an oncologist’s friends house. Because when you find out you have the same cancer that killed you mother, you forgo the regular channels and you drop off your CD at your friend’s house.
It was a long weekend. so long. I knew. But really, you don’t want to know. you want things to be ok. So you wait tip they call you to give you an appointment for a biopsy. for that appointment, D is not the right person. You need Sarcastic and bitchy. hence you make A. take time off work and come with you. Because calm and zen won’t work when they drill holes into your breast and tell you the tumour is ‘exceptional’ – we all know what that means.
Here I am now, 2 years later. I am Cancer-Free. NED and I are still thick as thieves. But my fingers and toes freeze the instant I step outside in winter. For a life-long ski instructor, this is a real problem. Also my legs hurt. All. The. Time. For an imaginary runner, this is also a problem. I am waiting to tattoo something outrageous and large all over my chest so that in the 3 seconds I step out of the shower until I can get on a tank-top, I don’t cry.
I am not a super-survivor. I am not person who will write the inspirational best seller or get invited on the national talk-show. I am the still-kicking girl (woman, I know, but seriously, let me have girl for a few more years) who swears like a sailor and drinks wine and has become the go-to 3 am emergency email person you contact when your BFF finds out she has a mass unknown….
It’s been 2 years. I wish I could say I slayed the dragon. The truth is, we peacefully cohabit in a strange place called Cancerland.
Happy Cancer-versary Month to me.