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.