Welcome to my beautiful mess. My Metastatic Mess. A world filled with enough emotional turbulence to give anyone whiplash. Whatever mess comes my way and no matter how lost I feel, I eventually find my path back to my true self. Experiencing life, seeking meaning amongst the chaos, and doing whatever I can to bring along some sunshine. Some say that I handle life with Grace. Sometimes, I think maybe the smile I am still wearing means I must be f*cking crazy…
My story and who I am is so much more than a cancer diagnosis. But, I am in hopes that I can share my world with others and offer some sense of comfort and clarity with my experiences and perspectives. Maybe even a laugh or two. Or possibly a: “This chick is a freaking goofball and crazy AF, but amusing” type of reader response.
The cancer portion of my story goes something like this: I got divorced. I finally felt settled into a new home as a single mom and a sense of, “I think I just may have my shit together.” Then, I found a lump in my right breast. That little voice of reason and caution,that resides deep within my gut, wouldn’t allow me to ignore it. So, I marched myself in to see my primary care physician. The summary of that visit resulted in the next few days having a mammogram, breast biopsy and a shitty-ass follow up appointment at the Komen Center for Breast Health on November 13, 2015. Friday the freaking 13th. Diagnosis: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Breast Cancer.
I will spare you the medical jargon and treatment details that became an every day occurrence. I will dive into some of those details in other posts. It went something like this: Appointments with physicians, surgeons, biopsies, scans, blood work, surgeries, (lions and tigers and bears, oh my…).
And, here’s your spoiler alert. Guess what? My story did not continue on like the posters and informational brochures for Breast Cancer that are plastered everywhere. Pink ribbons… women running triumphantly across a finish line…Survivors. No, that was not my picture. Just a few months after my initial diagnosis, cancer was found in my lymph nodes and liver. The day the findings of my liver biopsy came back was my first visit and consult with an oncologist to discuss radiation. Radiation was no longer a consideration for my next step in treatment, because of the findings of cancer on my liver. I knew the answer, but needed to hear it. I asked her in a tone that was more of a statement. “So, this means I have stage IV cancer.” This is not meaning to dismiss the impact and havoc that any stage of cancer brings into our lives. It did mean, however, that my survival statistics just took a nose dive and I would be in treatment for the remainder of my life.
My daughter was all I could think about. She was the first thought when I was given the news of my initial breast cancer diagnosis. I had many aspects of this diagnosis to process. But, she was and will always be what makes me stress and grieve most about all of the uncertainty, grief and stress that cancer brings into one’s world. And, she continues to fuel my strength and drives my priority to make meaningful memories together every day.
My story and who I am is so much more than a cancer diagnosis. But, I am in hopes that I can share my world with others and offer some sense of comfort and clarity with my experiences and perspectives. Maybe even a laugh or two.