Hi, my name is Wendy and I have breast cancer. The following will be a chronicle of my life, dancing with cancer. I will share my journey as I navigate my life through this new maze. My ups, my downs and everything in between will be here.
You may be wondering why I would share something so personal. I guess I just want other women who are going through this to know they are not alone. Maybe this will bring comfort or a smile to another woman who feels lost and alone in a maze of the unknowns of cancer. And to borrow a line from an awesome blog I found….”I am hoping not to offend anyone here but if I do, deal with it. After all, I do have stupid, dumb breast cancer!“…
Monday, May 6, 2013, my life was forever changed.
Doctor to me: Do you have any questions before I start the procedure?
Me to Doctor: Should I prepare my husband for the worst?
Doctors response: Wendy this will come back cancer or I don’t know my job very well.
That was the exchange between me and the radiologist right before she performed the biopsy. I lay there thinking, “Okay. Cancer. Probably just remove the lump, take some pills for a few years and be done with it.”
Half way through the procedure the doctor asks, “How are you doing Wendy?” Me, “Well I’m happy to report that my shoulder is hurting more than what you are doing to me.” I know I heard a chuckle or two between the doctor and the attending nurse.
The biopsy was an ultrasound guided needle core biopsy. They took several tissue samples of the lump in my right breast as well as samples of one highly suspicious lymph node under my arm. As a bonus they gave me two little tiny titanium clips, one in the lump, one in the lymph node. Wasn’t that nice of them?! If you are really brave, click the thumbnails below to see pictures. PICTURES….EWWWW! =P
After the biopsy was complete I was back in the waiting room with ice packs in place getting ready for a final mammogram to make sure the little titanium clips they inserted were correctly in place and visible. While I was waiting I noticed a woman rocking back and forth in a chair, wringing her hands, with a look of sheer panic on her face. She began asking some of the other women what they were there for. She explained that she had a lump and the doctors told her it was a benign cyst and not to worry. But she was convinced the doctors were lying to her and she really had breast cancer. I finally asked her if by any chance she had pain at the sight of the lump. She said yes with a sort of confused look. I then told her that pain was a good sign. Most lumps that have pain associated with them are not cancer. She had a look of disbelief when she said “Oh my gosh, that’s EXACTLY what the doctors said. What are you here for?” I just smiled and said “Well I just found out I have breast cancer.” Then my name was called for my final mammograms.
I didn’t get to see that woman again but I have thought about her often since that day. Believe it or not, she is an inspiration to me. The way I see it, I have two choices. First choice, I can let this breast cancer diagnosis beat me down and turn me into the woman I met in that waiting room. The woman who lives in constant fear, wringing her hands, asking why me, this is too much. OR, second choice, I can take the bull by the horns and ride the wave. I have decided that I will not be defeated. I will take each day as it comes and deal with it accordingly. I know I will have good days, and I know I will have bad days. But I will try to remember that each day is precious. And while this is only the first step in a very long journey, I will come out the other side one day, hopefully a little wiser, a little stronger, and a better person for it.
My thanks to all, especially my husband, for embarking on this journey with me.