Happy Cancerversary to Me

You guys, my cancerversary is today.

April 15, 2015 was a Wednesday. It was also my day off. My husband was on a mountain in Nepal and off the grid. My 12 year old daughter was at school. I’d been expecting the call from the radiologist and around noon it came. Breast cancer. She suggested I call my PCP and get the name of a breast surgeon. I thanked her and was about to hang up when she said “don’t you want to know what type it is?” Type? There are types? “Um, yeah I guess I do.” “Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.” I wrote it down and stared at it. I said “Well fuck me.” I didn’t cry, I’d been sobbing privately in the days leading up to this call. I expected it. The radiologist had said it looked very concerning during my ultrasound. What to do? Who to call? I have no family to speak of. My husband was on a mountain in Nepal. My in-laws live in Europe. I e-mailed a few close friends who knew what was going on. I hid it from my daughter. I felt so completely isolated and alone. Hopeless. All I could think about was leaving my daughter without her mommy. What had I done to deserve this? Promises to God I hadn’t kept?

Well my husband came home a week later and I told him. He was very circumspect and positive. We met with the doctors and with a treatment plan in place I began kicking ass and taking names. Three years, a Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis, a few surgeries, four rounds of chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation and two estrogen blockers later I’m still here to tell the tale. And despite the scars both inside and out, despite all the crap I’ve had to endure, I’ve come out the other side and I’m a better person for having done so. I love every day, and yes I have some lingering effects like occasional neuropathy and chemo brain. I have sleepiness that borders on narcolepsy, joint stiffness and poop that resembles rabbit pellets, all from taking letrozole. But I’m alive. On that shitty day three years ago I could not imagine ever feeling happy or hopeful again, so if you are just starting your fight or currently embattled, it will get better. It did for me.