When we started talking about how Libby wants to share her journey, we came up with the idea to have a website. There is something about CaringBridge that just didn’t sit right and she didn’t really want it all over social media. However, she wants her friends and family to be a part of her journey and to enlist all the prayer warriors out there. She also feels strongly that she want it to be a place where other people can share in the journey- as she says, “Everyone is going through something.” This can be a place to support each other. Think of it like an online version of Chicken Soup for the Soul. So, we had fun coming up with this plan.
Little did I know, I would get a breast cancer diagnosis as I was setting up the website. Of course that means that Libby wants me to be the first person to share my story here too. This is something that has taken me some time to wrap my head around. I’m much better at garnering support for other people. But as my amazing husband reminded me, “Why would you deny other people the joy of praying for and supporting you?” I think the hard part is my diagnosis doesn’t feel like such a big deal compared with Libby’s diagnosis. Mine, while it has the “C” word attached to it, is really pretty straight forward and simple. Not easy. Simple.
Family history… My mom, her sister and their aunt all had breast cancer. My dad’s mom died from it. I think I have always known that I would probably get it one day. When my mom was diagnosed with it 10 years ago, I made up my mind then that if I ever got that diagnosis, no matter what, I would get a double mastectomy, get the boobs I had when I was in my 20’s back and never have to worry about it again.
So, about 2 weeks ago, I heard the “C” word from my breast specialist. Honestly, I think because I had processed that conversation ten years ago, I very matter-of-factly told her what I wanted to happen. Then, matter-of-factly told my family and a couple of friends. My cancer is very small and slow growing. Not a big deal.
Last week I had some genetic screening done. The results will determine a couple of things with my surgery, and of course will provide information about whether my children get tested. Sitting down with the genetic counselor and being asked if I just wanted to have the basic screening done or be screened for 40+ cancer-related genes was the first time my autopilot failed. Do I want to know all that?
After thinking about it a lot and talking it through with Jim, Libby and my parents, I decided that being more informed is better than less. Who knows what research may help my kids or me down the road, or how I could help research?
While we wait for those results, I am working and playing in Denver with Jim, where he has a big project. I return to Atlanta on Oct 16 and have a MRI the next day to be sure there is nothing else going on that hasn’t been detected. Then Wednesday, I meet with my plastic surgeon, and Friday with my breast surgeon/specialist.
Ever since that conversation with the genetic counselor, I feel a little off balance. The closest I can really explain it is that I’m generally fine, but there’s an app running in the background that is using up energy and is just constantly THERE. Not depressed, not really all that worried about everything, but it’s just THERE.
Meanwhile, I work, I play, I love. 🙂