Yesterday I learned that I have breast cancer. Apparently having had cancer (melanoma) before does not mean squat in preparing you to hear that word again. After I finished crying and cursing, my thought was “I’m not done!” I have so much to do before I leave this mortal coil; I don’t have time for this.
I’m still in shock. I don’t know enough—does one ever?—about this most common type: invasive ductal carcinoma. I have several friends who have been through it who are helping me choose doctors and know what to expect. The Female Medical Support Network has always been far more informative for me than any doctor, and this time is no different.
This really came out of nowhere. There is no history of it in my family at all, and I can’t think of anything that would make me more at risk than anyone else. It’s just a roll of the dice. I knew something was up when an apparent “infection” did not change over four weeks. The mammogram led to an ultrasound and a biopsy, all within a 2½ hour visit last Thursday. The ultrasound showed three spots that lit up when the doctor scanned for heightened blood flow. I suspect he knew then, but they don’t say anything until the lab results come back.
I will be having an MRI this week and probably surgery next week. I don’t know what sort of follow-up treatment will be required; more tests are in order.
I have told my family and friends, and the response has been wonderful. This may sound odd for anyone who has not experienced it, but I am looking forward to the overwhelming grace which has already begun to surround me. It happened when I had melanoma, and it really helped me deal with my fears. “Cancer” is a frightening word, and, yes, I am scared. While a number of my friends are survivors of breast cancer, three were not.
I will not go gently into that good night. I’m not done. Since this is my reality right now, I will be writing about it. Bear with me, and come along on this roller coaster of a ride.