Along came a message to this blog that I opened this morning. The message said:
Hi! I was just diagnosed a couple weeks ago (am age 34), and have found your blog super helpful (especially the post on how to tell people). I’m going to try and follow in your footsteps and document my journey in case it can help more people in the future. If you like my blog, please add me to your blogroll! Thanks! http://www.youngandcancerous.com
I have been at this blogging thing a while now, and I am still touched to the point of tears every time I get a note like this.
When I get a note like this, I am also instantly transplanted back to that April afternoon in 2011 when the room swam slightly in a circle and I got my diagnosis. Every breast cancer is different, but we all can agree that when you first get the diagnosis the room spins and you feel like someone knocked the breath out of you.
The woman who wrote to me is named Lisa. She is 34 years old. She literally just got her diagnosis. She has started a blog called Young and Cancerous: Look Out Breast Cancer I’m Dangerous
I want you to know that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I am 34 years old. My prognosis is very, very good. My type of cancer and what we know about my potential stage of cancer at this time all point to the fact that this is all very, very treatable and that I will have a long and healthy life.
I am sharing this news with you because, honestly, it will just be so much more difficult to keep it private. I thought about waiting to share this news until my full treatment plan is known, but there are so many steps in this process and I just can’t foresee the “right” time. So I’m sharing everything I know, and I’m sharing it now. As I’ve come to understand my diagnosis and sought to learn about both the science behind the treatment options and the personal experiences of others, one medium that has helped me greatly are the personal blogs of other patients who have walked this path before me. I’m going to work hard to document my journey, and through this blog I hope to keep you updated and provide a record that could assist others who may someday be in my position. It will also be therapeutic for me to write.
A form I recently filled out during a surgical consult. It felt so strange to circle “breast cancer.”
While this news was shocking, it was only to an extent. This news did not come entirely as a surprise to me because of my strong hereditary and familial risk. My mother survived breast cancer (diagnosed at age 55; in remission the past 9 years). My grandmother did not survive it. She was diagnosed in her early 30s, then diagnosed again with metastasized breast cancer in her late 30s. The disease killed her by age 43.
She goes on to talk about her cancer and what she wants from friends and loved ones. She is taking this bulls**t called breast cancer by the horns and wants positivity around her and negativity kicked to the curb.
A lot of us know the journey she has ahead, and selfishly I can honestly say I am damn glad to be past all that.
Lisa’s message came to me on a day that can only be described as a bit off. I had a night of light to little sleep (it’s what happens occasionally when you are in official medically diagnosed menopause – no more estrogen means you just don’t sleep the way you used to) and my joints are all achy. Some days it is just hard to have to deal with the aftermath of mutant ninja pink breast cancer turtles having had a go at your body and all that comes after to remain cancer free. (And yes, I know the alternative would suck more!)
O.K. I can feel you all tsk, tsking me. Yes, we are beautifully alive and have survived, but some days you look in the mirror and shake your head. We all have these moments as women even without breast cancer if we are honest, so we might as well be honest.
A message like I received this morning is a reaffirmation of why I write this blog in particular. And it is such a nice message to receive on a dreary and rainy day.
Welcome to the club, Lisa. I wish I wasn’t welcoming you to it truthfully, but you go girl! We’re rooting for you! And thank you for being such a positive reminder of why I do this and how grateful I am to be alive and kicking and healthy and cancer free and doing this!
Life is a gift, and among those gifts are the people we meet on the journey.
Anyway, give her blog a read! It’s on WordPress like me and again it is called Young and Cancerous