This is a post I have been dreading to write. It’s been sitting on my shoulder whispering to me for months now, but I just haven’t known how to compose it. I didn’t feel ready. I’m not sure I feel any different now, either.
But, here it goes…straight from my heart to the page.
In August last year my cancer returned. What felt like an innocuous little lump under my skin on the side of my chest – something cyst-like and most likely benign – ended up heralding the news I had so feared for the last four years.
After weeks of scans, and biopsies and waiting and worrying, that little lump, along with a lesion on one of my ribs, was found to be Metastatic Breast Cancer. The incurable kind.
To say it’s been a blow would be the understatement of the century. I am gutted. My family is gutted. Our world has once again been flipped on its head in the cruelest way, and every day is a struggle to walk onward, head high, smile wide.
I haven’t felt the urge to write about it until now, but just as my original blog posts served as a kind of cathartic way of expressing my feelings and hopefully educating others about what a warts-and-all cancer diagnosis looks and feels like, I think it would be remiss of me to not continue the story.
I surprises me everyday how little people know about cancer, and the difference between an early stage diagnosis and the metastatic kind. When I first heard I had Breast Cancer four years ago, it was the scariest thing I had ever faced. The treatment was brutal and the road to recovery, long and arduous. I walked it as bravely as I could, fumbling through months of treatment supported by the loving arms and encouraging words of everyone around me.
This time, I am bereft.
I cling to a hope that is not there, and I play out the future I have left over and over in my head. The weeks, the months, the years. Will it be years? Nobody knows. No one can give me the answers I crave.
What I do know is, since my Stage IV diagnosis, I have had 12 weeks of more chemotherapy, targeted infusions of Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks since September, and monthly injections of hormone blockers and bone strengtheners, and still my cancer continues to progress.
It is now in my right shoulder, my sacrum, two ribs, my left femur, pelvis, and, as of last week, in two chest lymph nodes.
I want to scream WHY ME. I want to walk into my doctor’s rooms and be told there’s been some sort of mistake. I want to look into my beautiful children’s eyes and see long into their future. I want to grow old with my husband and friends. I just want life.
I just want life.
Mortality is a heavy load to bear. And while I know it’s something we will all face one day, I just never thought I’d be facing mine so soon.
For those of you who have once again wrapped Jay and I up in your love, I can’t tell you how grateful I am. We are riding the waves of grief and worry and trying so hard to push aside our sadness and anxiety and make the most of what a beautiful life we do have. I try so hard to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty, and we will be throwing ourselves into as much as we can for as long as we can.
But it will take a village, and I am so grateful for the beautiful one we belong to.