Four years ago today around noon I got that call from the radiologist. I’d known what she was going to say, but when she said it, it did not seem real. All I remember were the words carcinoma, referral and breast surgeon. As I was about to hang up she said “don’t you want to know what kind it is?” “Huh? Kinds? Whatever, yeah let me get a pen.” “Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.” “Okay thanks.” Somehow I’m still trying to be polite even though I want to kick her in the shins for saying those words to me. And so commenced the googling. Bad idea because I did not understand what I was reading. Things went from bad to worse because my husband was out of the country and off the grid, and I wasn’t about to tell my 12 year old daughter just yet. No other family to talk to. I had close friends who loved and supported me but I felt utterly alone.
That day (like the day I had the telltale imaging performed) is carved into my memory even though everything about it was surreal. All I could think about was dying and leaving my baby behind. I thought I would never feel joy or happiness again. But I was wrong. Time and experience had a way of changing my perspective on everything and yes-even though it’s kind of trite to say-healing. I am stronger, more self-assured, and happier in general. And I can look back on that day and see a woman who was knocked down but picked herself up and fought back. I survived that day and all the days after.
There is nothing special about me. Millions of woman have been in my shoes. But I want say to those of you in the beginning of this shitshow, you will fight, you will get through it, and you will be stronger in the end. Things will never be the same but that’s okay. There is a new normal and you will navigate it through hills and valleys and speedbumps. Because that’s who we are. We are survivors. So it’s not my Cancerversary, it’s my Survivorsary.