Cancer Anniversary (the metastatic one -sort of)

This is a week of cancer-related anniversaries, and I’ll be receiving scan results too. My head and heart feel full, but I have great people in my life to lean on, should the results be less than good. 

On this day last year, I was on my way to an appointment with the amazing Dr. Joel Yellin following the sudden appearance of an angry-looking pink rash on my mastectomy scar.

A year ago today, my mother carted a skinny, shaking-and-shivering (despite a full head of hair!) little girl to her surgeons office. I was carefully examined, and since my surgeon is amazing, a biopsy was scheduled for the following day. 

I don’t identify with the little girl lying back in the chair listening to the scritch-scritch of her own flesh being scraped away from her. I remember the voices of my surgeon and PA sounding muffled, like they were under water. I remember a slight ringing in my ear. I remember looking down at my chest and seeing blood and iodine through the strategically cut hole-y sterile napkin gently draped over me. I remember thinking that I was dissociating. Today, I do not identify with this skinny, terrified, little girl. Today, I am sure as shit not skinny, I am still terrified, and at times, still very much a little girl. But receiving this terminal diagnosis crushed a part of me -maybe even killed it, I’m not sure. Or maybe that’s just the emotional space I’m exploring lately.  Lately this little girl has her outstretched hand behind her, painfully reaching to the past (possibly a glorified version of it) and looking ahead upon the fanged monster, shrieking loud as a freight train. This monster wants to swallow her whole. This, I believe, is terror. It is my terror.

It is a willful tantrum, a lack of acceptance of my reality that I’m experiencing pretty intensely right now. This first cancer-versary feels heavy. 

I am, however, so glad I followed my heart and my gut and spoke up when I felt something was not right. I’m glad I pushed for a biopsy which revealed that we were not in the clear.  It was this sudden and mysterious rash and biopsy of this rash that prompted the whole battery of tests. The chest ct showed the spots on both lungs, which changed my diagnosis to Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer and changed my life forever. 

Sometimes I think about what might have happened had I not noticed the rash, or had the rash not been present at all. I feel grateful to have had a loud flashing neon warning sign on the outside showing that something was very wrong on the inside. The rash went away after my first chemo treatment, and hasn’t made a peep since. I believe that my angels were looking out for me then, and I believe they are continuing to do so. 

I am ending abruptly because I just realized I’m running late. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers this week. I do not have room for bad news. 💕🙏🏻

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