Friday, September 30, 2011


The left is all clear, it was just a tiny cyst! And the right lymph nodes are PERFECT.

Bring on the tequila, it's time to get this weekend started!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the immortal words of Clay Davis, "sheeeeeit"

I heard back from the oncology nurse with my MRI report today. The news kinda sucks and frankly, I'm getting sick of shitty news.

The full size of the mass in the right breast is 5 cm (about 2 inches). That's um....kinda big. It's a bit of a magic number in the breast cancer world and puts me at at least stage 2, possibly stage 3, depending on what the the lymph nodes look like after some are removed in surgery.

It makes me wonder how I didn't notice. Now that I've been made aware in the last few weeks, I feel every. single. thing. happening in there. Every twinge, every sensitivity, every pain. Part of me wonders how I could have been so dense. It seems so obvious from here that something's not quite right, but I just assumed it was all normal aches and irritations.  How could I have possibly known, especially when all my annual exams turn out fine? Speculation is pretty useless at this point, though, it's all in what I do about it now.

The MRI also showed that the left breast has a friend as well, though I certainly hesitate to call anything potentially invading my boobs 'friend'. A 7 mm friend, which is tee-tiny. I have an ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow to get a look at it. If I had to make a wager, I'd say it probably gets the biopsy treatment as well next week to determine exactly what it is and if it's related. The ultrasound appointment includes an extensive conversation with the radiologist AND my surgeon. My god at the list of questions I'll have for those two! (um, I should probably get on that...)

The bit of good news from today?  My lymph nodes looked ok in the MRI.  That's probably a very good thing, so I'm staying optimistic!

More news tomorrow, post ultrasound - not that it will really tell me anything, but I hope the doctors will have something good to say.

I guess my new profession here is Cancer's Boss (pronounced BAWS, please). My mission statement?  "Get the fuck out, motherfucker."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ground control to Major Tom...

Being inside an MRI may be one of the strangest experiences I've ever had (so far!).

There is just no way to gracefully get into that thing face down.  Everyone in the room is going to see all your junk and you have to be ok with that.  Luckily I have no shame, so this was not really a problem.  I tried to equate it with being on a massage table, except that your boobs have to hang down in their own little sections and just...hang there.  Like they're having their own little special party and no one else is invited, "Sorry!  This section is for tits only!".

So once I assumed the position, the trolley thing rolls forward into the MRI machine and dizziness ensues!  I'm pretty sure the tech said something along the lines of, "Don't worry, it's just your protons being realigned".  I'm lucky that I didn't realign some protons right onto that machine.  After that feeling passed, disorientation and the sound of bad electronica began. I pretended I was in space for a while, and I had to open my eyes every few minutes to reorient myself.  Otherwise, I just tried to breathe and use the time to meditate and add my own beats to the sounds of the machine.

In short - I lived.  I did not pass out from the IV (yay needle allergy!) and I kept my wits about me.  Medical procedures are really not my thing, man.

I should hear results by Friday.  All crossables are crossed!

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm going to throw myself a big party. Parties and fun times always help in times of crisis and I think that's true especially now. Bring your happy face, favorite drink and most fabulous shoes. But do not bring anything pink unless it's really fancy and/or tacky.

I'm still have trouble believing this is all true. It's just...that's not me. I'm not that person. I don't *want* to be that person. I didn't think it could happen to me.  I'm young and healthy and just generally awesome. That's not going to happen to me. Yet, here we are. And it's ok. It's all going to be ok. I do keep hoping the phone will ring with someone telling me that it was all a big mistake. "That pathology report?  That's Some Other Melanie, sorry!" So far that hasn't happened, but I secretly hope.

I think when receiving a diagnosis like breast cancer, we naturally wonder why.  Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong? We think back to everywhere we've ever worked or lived, all those times we put our phone in our bra (don't tell me I'm the only one), our family histories, our old bad habits, and on and on until we drive ourselves nuts.  We wonder why our last annual exam didn't catch the lump.  Why we didn't notice it a month ago or a year ago or more.

But the reality is this: we can't know and it doesn't matter. You could be the best person on the planet and check your boobs daily, but none of the things you do are really preventative measures.  You can only hope to catch it early.  Sometimes shit just happens.  Sometimes it happens to you.

And sometimes when shit happens we throw a party.  Out with the old boobs, in with the new!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear cancer...

I always thought that the most ironic birthday gift was the day you got the bill for your car tag.  Like it's taunting you: "Happy birthday! Send us $400!" This year is different. I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer on 9/20/11 - ten days before my 35th birthday. Talk about irony. "Happy birthday, you have cancer!"

It has been a long month, which started with finding a lump (late August), having a mammography and ultrasound (9/8), followed by a biopsy of two lumps (9/15) and a diagnosis (9/20) of stage 1 or 2 invasive breast cancer in my right boob. I've never experienced such a roller coaster of emotion, from fear and despair to absolute peace and gratitude.  There are fewer WTF moments like the one when the voice on the other end of the phone says, "You have breast cancer." That may be the one moment in all this so far that absolutely makes me catch my breath. I will never forget it.

Things are still very surreal.  Processing what all this means and what is still yet to come is...bizarre.  Sometimes it's really painful. Sometimes I'm at peace with it. Sometimes it's terrifying. Telling my family and friends has been very difficult. Despite it all, I'm so very grateful that I've spent the last year working on myself: my strength, self esteem, confidence, peacefulness, and gratitude.  Through yoga, affirmations and meditation, I've worked hard to be at peace with myself and I'm counting on that strength (and my sense of humor!) to get me through the next few months.

If you know me, you'll know that I'm tough.  I'm funny.  I have a great attitude about all this. That doesn't mean I'm a super hero, and I certainly won't pretend to be one. If I were, I'd be really disappointed with my super ability to need to pee at the most inopportune times and my incredible ability to consistently spill coffee on myself.  I'm human. I'm scared and worried.  But I'm not going to let this kick my ass.

The next steps include a complete diet overhaul, more exercise, and an MRI on 9/28 to determine what kind of surgery I'll need (lumpectomy or mastectomy).

Dear cancer: You picked the wrong bitch.

Stay tuned.