Let’s get the updates part out of the way early:
- I met with a genetic counselor last Friday. I’ll be handing over my bodily fluids for testing tomorrow.
- The new spots that showed up on my breast MRI were checked on Monday and appear to be more fiberadenomas. Good news!
- I have decided to go ahead with a bilateral mastectomy. I have not, however, decided whether I would like to pursue breast reconstruction or just allow the surgery to morph me into my long dreamed of androgynous alter ego.
- I will be meeting with a plastic surgeon tomorrow, followed by an oncologist on Monday. Here’s hoping that there will be some clarity re: treatment soon.
Fabulous. Moving on.
I don’t feel like I have ever sugar-coated my feelings here. In fact, I’ve been pretty up-front with the fact that this is one of the only places where I feel even remotely comfortable expressing my emotions. But, I do realize that some people are more sensitive than others, so here’s my little disclaimer/trigger warning/spoiler alert- I’m about to talk about some very real, and very personal shit, including suicidal feelings and ideation. So if that’s not your bag, I totally understand. At the behest of this rotten beam, I’m embracing myself.
How are you?
That’s is *the* question, isn’t it? How do you answer someone honestly? Of course, I don’t begrudge people asking, and I appreciate knowing that people care. But I don’t feel like I can truly say how I am doing. I know, I know- this post exists on every cancer blog ever written, but it’s true. Do you actually want to burden someone with dropping the ‘I’m actually fucking terrible, Judy, but thank you for asking’ bomb on someone? No.
This past weekend, my partner and I got into a small fight that really just stemmed from a small miscommunication. I’m glad it happened though, as we were able to talk about it and dissect the feelings and emotions behind the communication fail. He was feeling scared and helpless regarding the diagnosis, and rightfully so. I was feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and overly sensitive about things. And, quite frankly, I didn’t feel comfortable with expressing how I was truly feeling because it’s not what people want to hear.
I’ve written before about the two sides of my brain, and they come into play with processing this cancer thing. A large part of me is a caretaker. I put everyone’s needs over my own, and I focus on fixing things for others long before I ever take a look at myself. So naturally, I feel guilty about having such “burdensome” feelings. I say that in quotes, because I feel like telling someone that I’d rather just quietly die than hang around through surgery, recovery, treatment, financial loss, debt, and depression is a lot for the normal person to take in. Why say all that when I could just say ‘I’m fine’ and move on? Nobody wants to know that shit (unless they’re my therapist and they’re getting paid a lot of money to ask me how I feel about that).
Look, I know I have an amazing support system backing me through this, but at my core, I still wonder if it’s even worth it for me to try. When I was meeting with the genetic counselor, she went into fine detail about all of the mutations that my genes could have that would put me at a higher risk for brain cancer (here’s where I stopped listening), pancreatic cancer, further breast cancers, etc. How I might pass them on to any children I might have. The ultrasound tech told me to be wary of reconstruction using my own tissue because it could “become necrotic (here’s where I stopped listening), thus causing more lumps”. Incredible support system or not, this is a lot to absorb in such a short amount of time.
I’ve had a pretty hard life by anyone’s standards, and it seems to be unrelenting. SOMEHOW I’m still married to a total douchecanoe, I have cancer, I’m losing my tits, and my employer is likely going to cut me off my insurance if I try to take a leave of absence to recover from said tit loss. It’s grim. I’m only twenty-nine years old- what else could happen to me in the future? Part of me really doesn’t want to find out.
I do realize that these emotions are completely normal and a part of my grieving process. They will swell, fluctuate, and decline as things progress. Right now, I’m allowing myself to feel them, as opposed to trying to suppress them deep inside me like I normally do. This doesn’t mean I’m going to throw myself off the I-94 bridge, but it does mean I might start accepting a radically different world view. Apparently, that’s a popular reaction for people who have been diagnosed with a murdery illness- you start to figure out what, and who, really matters in your life.
And let me tell you, it’s not the 115 separate 1 page documents you want me to print out for you by 10:30 am.
PS: This is NOT to say that I don’t appreciate all the love and support people have shown me. I am so grateful that people continue to ask me how I am! Rather, this was an opportunity for me to vent about how my stupid brain functions. Or doesn’t function. Your call.