Happy Cancerversary!

It’s almost scary to think that one year ago today I was sitting in Dr. F.’s office, patiently waiting for him to tell me that my biopsy showed nothing, and oh yeah, here’s a ‘script for some antibiotics.

What a shock to the protective little cocoon that was my life.

I tried not to cry. Of course that made me cry. Then I stopped crying to try to ask questions, but couldn’t think of any. The nurse hugged me, and Dr. F. apologized. Then I went numb for several hours which allowed me to drive home semi-safely. Then when I finally let my guard down to go to sleep, I lost emotional control and went flying over Niagara Falls in my barrel.

Cancer will do that to you.

Some days I can distance myself from it, and I think I’m healthy and emotionally cured! YAY! Only to find that 3 days later I am crying because my quesadilla cheese hadn’t completely melted (true story). I seem to blindly pick the type of day I’m going to have:

I’ll take My Crazy Emotional Mess Of A Life for $1000, Alex

Though I was initially diagnosed with Stage 0, and officially Stage 1 post-node dissection, the unknown of just how far it had spread made me wonder what my life would be like in the coming years… and just how much more of my life I would even experience. After it was all over, both of my doctors expressed surprise that it had not spread to my lymph node. I felt as though they had been keeping a secret from me, and it hurt my feelings that I hadn’t been privvy to their medical opinions. Only now can I not just admit to myself, but understand that I could have died. I knew it on a factual level, recognizing that some people die from breast cancer, but only now can I begin to absorb it on an emotional level in the context of my own life.

I still struggle with myself-my head. But odds are good that I’d be doing that anyway. (It’s as though I never managed to grow out of that confused, angst-ridden teen phase, and now I’m just a confused angsty adult who’s a little better at hiding it.) At my core I am still the same strange, messed up kook I always was, I’ve just (inevitability) shed some of my invincibility.

My second ever mammogram brought good news; my remaining breast looks normal and healthy.

I pasted the letter on my fridge, like a gold-star paper. It was a wonderful Cancerversary gift!

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