I’m writing this based on Dan’s suggestion. I’ve never read a blog or written one, so it’s probably not going to be that interesting, but here goes. Last week I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say it has turned our lives upside down. At 33, that’s not what I expected to hear. Yeah, my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at 40, but that was her. I always thought that if I was going to have to deal with something like cancer I would be older than 33 (not that 40 is old, just thought I would be older than that).
The news came to us on Friday, June 18, 2010. That Sunday was Father’s Day and our entire family was planning on coming over for lunch. They all wanted to cancel, but I told them I was going to ignore the elephant in the room and keep our plans. Thankfully, they all kept their word and didn’t bring up the subject. The entire weekend was filled with me pretending I was ok, followed by me breaking down big time and having to cry on Dan.
Tuesday was the first meeting with doctors (surgeon, I should say). Dan and my sister went with me to the meeting. That was probably the worst day. There was no more pretending this wasn’t real. The white board was full of terms, drawings and ideas of what we were going to be going thru. Hearing the surgeon talk about all the different scenarios was a real kick to the stomach. That was me and my life that was being discussed and planned. None of these plans fit what I wanted. Being told that this would be about a 12 month process, we would not be able to have children (or even try), I may have to have radiation and/or chemo, losing one of my breasts or both, losing all my hair, stopping my body from producing estrogen and progesterone and on and on… I felt like I wasn’t even going to be a girl anymore. Dan seemed to think that the meeting was positive, but he always sees the good in things.
Wednesday morning was terrible. Again, I had to get up and face more people. The girls I work with know what I’m dealing with and could tell I didn’t want to talk and they respected my silence. My doctor’s office called to let me know there was an available appointment at one of the plastic surgeons that I had requested to meet with. Dan and I were able to make the appointment and I was really glad that we did. After talking with the plastic surgeon and seeing other reconstructive surgeries that he had done, I felt SO much better at that moment. That day things got a little better. I even went out to dinner with my closest girlfriends. Thank God for laughter and close friends.
Thursday was the day for my CT scan and bone scan. It felt like I was reliving the week before when I was waiting on the biopsy results. From the Tuesday meeting, one of the numbers that was given from the biopsy indicated that the cancer could have spread elsewhere in my body. As if things weren’t bad enough, they could have gotten worse. We had no idea what to expect with the scans, but I was really thinking that I would walk in, have an x-ray type deal then leave. That was definitely not the case. The scans didn’t take long, but the process of getting ready for them did. I had to drink a tall glass of yuck (and before it warmed up and got yuckier) and wait an hour for the CT scan. They also did an IV at that time to have the dye for the bone scan injected. The dye was going to need to be in my body for at least 2 hours before they could start the bone scan. That injection was really cold and made me shiver for about 15-20 minutes. Both scans are done on a bed that moves you to the machine. I had to just close my eyes and pray until they were over. I’m really claustrophobic and these machines were not my idea of fun. Thankfully both were over rather quickly. The results from these showed there was no other cancer in my body. Big praise to God for those being good!
The week ended on a better note since both scans had come back with good reports. Sunday we told our community group (Sunday School Class) what was going on. We asked them to be praying for us thru this. They surrounded us right then and prayed over us. I’m extremely thankful for our community and feel like they are such a blessing in our lives. I know that they will pray for us and walk with us thru this.
So, that’s where we are right now. We are still waiting for the gene test results (to see if I have the breast cancer gene) and still have a couple of other plastic surgeons to meet with. I feel like the decision of who does the plastic surgery is one of the most important decisions that we have to make. At the end of the day, what they do will be with me for the rest of my life. Not to sound vain, but I am 33… I want to be able to wear tank tops or sundresses or a bathing suit and not feel like I can’t because my chest is messed up. I want Dan to find me attractive physically. I want to feel as normal as possible.
I know this is just the beginning and I’ve got a long way to go. I’m really praying that whatever comes, my life will glorify God. I want my attitude and my heart to be changed to positive and not be negative about what I’m dealing with. I am thankful that Dan is by my side. My family and my friends are also a real comfort to me. I’ll be real and let you know that I have been Debbie Downer for most of this week. I’ve not seen the positive of this yet. I’ve been crying and feeling sorry for myself. I’m dreading the day of my surgery (whenever that is). I’m an emotional wreck. I don’t want to go thru this. I don’t want to have a mastectomy or a double mastectomy. I don’t want to lose my hair. I don’t want to feel like I’m not being a wife to Dan because I’m sick. I don’t want to do this, but I don’t have a choice.
— Holly Thompson