It’s been about three weeks since I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. It still feels like an out of body experience. Most of the time, I don’t really think about it. I don’t dwell on the fact that I know there is a tumour growing in my left breast at about 3 o’clock. It’s small (the pathology report said 1.3 cm – about the size of a grain of rice) and early stage. And I know it’s not growing fast (thanks to my low Mitosis score).
Some one asked me if I felt any different. I don’t – I’ve likely had cancer for about six years by this point. And I didn’t feel any different the day after I was told I had cancer than I did the day before. Sure, the lump was still there. But I was still doing all the things I’d always done – boot camp, body sculpt, Stand Up Paddleboarding, swimming a mile two mornings a week, going out with friends, etc. I was still the young, fit, healthy woman I’d always been.
But now I have cancer. It really is a mind game. I was learning to compartmentalize. When thoughts of the cancer invaded my consciousness, I banished it unless it was at a time when I needed to do something related to my diagnosis – attend a medical appointment, for example. Very hard to do. And I didn’t always win the battle. It’s a journey, and I remind myself daily to cut myself some slack. 🙂
I also am one to use humour when I am dealing with scary things. It doesn’t mean I’m in denial. But, for me, it makes it easier to discuss, and come to terms with, unpleasant things. One of these points was in relation to the type of cancer I have – invasive lobular carcinoma. This type of cancer, typically, according to research, doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy. I’d been scheduled for a lumpectomy – most of my breast would still be in place, so radiation was guaranteed. But, chemotherapy was not a sure thing. In telling my friends and family, I said that my baseline of ‘good’ had been reset – who’d have thought that saying “I’ll be getting radiation” would be a good thing. A little lightness to take the edge off of scary news – for me and my loved ones.
I keep reminding myself – the best way out is through. ODAAT. One day at a time.