My body betrayed me last week when I found out that I have cancer. Breast cancer. What? But it doesn’t run in my family, I said. I’m only 35, I said. I breastfed 2 babies and pumped for another, I said. I am not the demographic. I am an outlier. What. The. Fuck. I have always hated my boobs. They are gigantic. When I was pregnant with my daughter they grew to an I cup. I for “I have gigantic boobs”. Just cut them off, give me a nice set of perky B’s and let’s move on! Take ‘em. I don’t care.
Only some of you will know the emotions that accompany this kind of news. I, being the stubborn and terrible patient that I am had gone to this doctor’s appointment alone. I had not told a soul, not even my amazing husband, that I had discovered some funky bumps on my breast and had been referred to this Breast Surgeon-The Breast Guru, my primary doctor called her. I didn’t tell anyone because I thought it would be nothing and I did not want to unnecessarily worry anyone. I thought, at the most, this was a little skin abnormality and they would scrape it off. Never in my wildest nightmares did I think CANCER.
Over the past week, since I’ve heard those words I’ve been floating through this surreal fog, going to appointments, delivering news to loved ones, weeping in public. Sometimes when I’m walking each step reminds me, cancer, cancer, cancer, until I push that out of my head and move on to my next task. When the worst possible fears crowd my otherwise glass half full way of thinking I use all of the grace and patience I have to allow those feelings to come and then let them pass. I have allowed my loving family and dearest friends to guide me away from my dark moments with love in their eyes and the reassurance that we will get through this.
And don’t think the irony is lost on me that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Oh, I know! I have always been a supporter of this cause, but I just wish it wasn’t snuggled up next to me while I prepare for this trip. It’s everywhere. It’s in the pink ribbon profile FB page and in the pumpkin milkshake special at the local restaurants. It’s in the Zumbathons and the conferences and the pink out days. It’s being broadcast during football games and even the Empire State Building that my dear sister sees out her window in NYC is pink.
Despite the “in your face” message this is delivering to me and my family, I am also seeing it as an opportunity to set the stage. My light in all of this has been the overwhelming support from my communities. I am a giver and I have been my whole life. I don’t do well in this seat. I’m a much better champion. But I can’t be that right now. I will need to be using all of my energy to get through this disease. But I see you, community. I feel your love. I’ll use your strength. I need you.
I haven’t told my kids. I plan to. I plan to give them as much information as they need. And I’ll use my therapist friends and the child life specialist and the guidance counselor at school and they will be okay. They will be surrounded with love and light and sparkles and rides to school and playdates and ice cream cones. And hopefully this experience helps build their strength and character. They will need you too.
So let’s do this people. I’m going to face this like a Zen Yoga Warrior-with strength, patience, flexibility. I will be fierce and determined and stubborn. Cancer, you idiot-you fool, you have picked the wrong girl to fuck with.