Monday, June 13th
I opened my eyes, and for a small second, the world was normal again. I had forgotten why my alarm was going off. Did I have to work today? No… Oh shit. I have cancer. It all flooded back in a second. Today was the day. Is this going to kill me? Has it spread to other parts of my body? My head was spinning. Although, I did have a sense of calm. I know it sounds crazy, but prayers do help. I felt different. I was still scared out of my mind, but there was this overwhelming sense of calm that had taken over me.
We, as a family, started our day driving to St. Luke’s for my MRI. If no one has told you about an MRI, get ready to be forever terrified of them. 🙂 I absolutely hated my MRI. I don’t really know what I expected. I did not expect it to hurt me. I first had to lay face down on this weird slab that had two square holes for my boobs to hang in. Yes, they were square. On what planet do women have square boobs… Anyway, the technician handed me handphones and told me she would play some music to help drown out the sound once the machine started. She started to move me back into the MRI machine. She told me there would be some pressure… Pressure! I felt like I was a piece of meat being packaged for sale. Oh my goodness! I lifted my head up, and my heart started racing. She asked if I was okay. I was so not okay, but I said, “Yeah, it is just really tight on my butt.” Unfortunately, this is normal. My back was contorted in a very uncomfortable way. I have a big butt, and it was being smashed into this sausage making contraption. My head could see out, but I could not see much. The tech left the room and started talking to me thru my headphones. The music started and so did the sound. It was so loud; it pretty much drowned out the country music playing in my ears. The sound, I could deal with though. It was the forceable vibration on my lower back that was killing me. I was already in a terrible position, and then I was being banged on in the only spot that already hurt. The forty minutes I was in there felt like an eternity. I can remember how much it hurt and how tears rolled down my face as I tried to keep it together. The tech handed me a weird ball looking thing to squeeze if I needed to get out. I wanted to squeeze this ball every second I was in there, but I knew I would just have to go back in so I pushed through. Somehow, I got through the whole thing. My back hurt, and I could barely get off of the bed when it was over, but it was over! If I never have to get a MRI again, it will be too soon. I promise you; it is just that bad.
We decided to go home between my MRI and doctor’s visit. As we drove back up to the hospital, they had closed highway 270 because of a bomb threat. Thank goodness it was closed right after my exit, and I am a master at driving in traffic to get through it as fast as possible. Let me assure you, I am a good driver. I have only had two accidents, and I blame them both on bad tires. We met with my surgeon. She showed us my ultrasound, mammogram, and MRI. My cancer looked like a flying bird in all the images. If only, it would just fly right on out of my boob. That would have been nice. I found out through my MRI results that the cancer was considered stage 2. My doctor said, “You will not die from this… We still have to act fast in treatment.” This was pending the results of my lymph node tests, which would take place during surgery. All of my prayer warriors came through. Although it was still cancer, we knew it would be at least stage 2. I am beyond blessed. My stress of unknown went away, and we could focus on getting it the hell out of there. It was big; 4.5 centimeters. So like a walnut… golf ball… It was crazy big and didn’t spread. My doctor even seemed surprised. People think, because I am “young” it was found early. Actually, this is the complete opposite from the truth. There is no screening for young women. When we find it, it is already pretty big. The chances of cancer spreading are much higher. So if you haven’t checked yourself today, go ahead and do it now. I will wait… I hope all is normal. Please don’t wait if you feel something weird. You owe it to yourself to live a long, long life.
We listened to all the options… Lumpectomy with radiation, mastectomy or double mastectomy. Chemo was happening no matter what. Because I am so young, and I don’t want this shit to ever ever come back. I was shocked. I didn’t think I would have to go through chemo. I read online most don’t with breast cancer. I was wrong and that sucked.
Once I knew I would live, finding out that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed Milo took a hold of me. I felt like I was losing myself in more ways than one. I loved breastfeeding Milo. There is a connection like no one can explain. It was a pure love connection. We sat in a room processing all of this news for a while, but I kept going back to the inability to breastfeed Milo. It was devastating. It felt stupid to care so much about it, but it was my every thought. Becky, a counselor, came in to talk to us. She told me what she does and said I could call her at any point. She asked, “how are you feeling?” Then all of a sudden, the tears fell. I kept it together so well… until that moment. I told her, “it seems so stupid, but all I can think about is not being able to breastfeed Milo.” She was awesome and reassured me my emotions were mine and were real. I decided then and there that I would wear this heartbreaking emotion for the world to see. However, little did I know how true that would be.
The women’s center at St. Luke’s Hospital was amazing. I had a secretary who scheduled all my appointments. I needed a surgeon, plastic surgeon, oncologist, and fertility specialist. They were all scheduled for this week. Also, I needed a CAT scan and ultrasound. This week was a crazy week. It was a swirl of information and emotions. I will tell you about that on a different day.
I went home, snuggled and breastfed Milo, knowing that each time would be closer to the last time. So I would cherish it. Even middle-of-the-night feeding became my favorite time. Eariler this day, one of my close V Girls, Megan, texted me that Tanalyn and she had left something at my door. We got home and completely forgot about it as we walked through our garage. As we got ready for bed, Jimmy checked all of the doors to make sure they were locked. He looked out the front door, saw something out of the corner of his eye, and said “What in the hell is this?” He went outside and brought in a giant pink basket full of all my favorite things, and much much more. I just started to cry. I was so overcome with joy. My friends are amazing and spent probably most of their day finding all of these things for me. I am continually blessed with the love of my friends and family, so be prepared for more stories of selflessness. I have a great support system. Facebook friends still didn’t know my diagnoses but I posted this because I wanted everyone to know I have amazing friends: