Hello, is this Catherine?
Hi Catherine this is S from Dr. C’s office. (sigh) Are you at home?
That bad huh?
Is anyone home with you?
Not now, but there can be soon.
That will be a good idea. I have your pathology report. I am so sorry, it is breast cancer.
I have breast cancer. Stage 2, grade 3, invasive ductal carcinoma.
I am having a hard time forming complete sentences from my thoughts and feelings, please bear with me. This post might be a bit of a mess. I’ll start with the fact I am not going to die from this. The cancer I have is very treatable and, fortunately, caught fairly early.
As soon as I heard “cancer”, I knew this was not going to beat me. Becoming a parent changes you. It changes how you value your own life.
My first thought was my husband. This man is a rock. He absorbs punch after punch and continues to carry his family and care for them with selfless tenderness. I have never met a tougher more confident person in my life. My first thought went to him: “I can not leave Dan to do this alone.” We are a team.
My second thought: “My girls need me.” Period, nothing more needs to be said.
My third thought: “I can beat this and still hold my new baby.” Exactly 3 weeks before this phone call we were celebrating the heartbeat of the new edition to our family. At the time of the phone call I was 10 weeks into my pregnancy.
We just endured an exhausting 10 days of doctor’s appointments, medical procedures and heartbreaking information.
- Wed: Breast needle biopsy
- Thu: Pathology results. Cancer.
- Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon: Process and inform loved ones.
- Tue: Surgery (morning) and Oncology (afternoon) appointments
- Wed: Perinatology consult, geneticist and ultrasound… unfortunate order because fetus has no heartbeat.
- Thu: Process and inform loved ones.
- Fri: D&C.
We were heartbroken over the loss of this pregnancy. It had been a light in the storm, something to guide us in the midst of cancer treatments. However, there was also a strange sense of relief at this loss. The heavy worry of saving my life and not harming my little bun in the oven was lifted off my shoulders. Dan and I were handling this stab to our hearts like we always do, together and with our eyes set on the future. We drove to the hospital for the D&C and I was scared. Not of the procedure itself, but of how I would feel after it was done. What will this do to me?
I woke up in recovery and all I felt was peace, closure and contentment. I was happy with my life and the two beautiful girls we have. I was ready to move forward and kick cancer’s ass. I suspect there will always be a little pain from this loss and I am at peace with that.
What’s the plan now? That is a two step process:
- Epic spa getaway with my childhood best friend. More like sisters than friends.
- Gloves on, hands up and knock the hell out of cancer.
The good far outweighs the bad in my life. My husband, oh Dan, I don’t even know what to say. My partner, my strength, my laughter, my love…you are my everything. (thank you for my new Kate Spade handbag and spa getaway!). This PM convo sums it up:
Do you know that you win father and husband of the year, every freaking year?!
I couldn’t do this fight without you.
I got you.
We have a long list of family and friends waiting for a word, any word, that would indicate we need help. Warriors waiting and ready 24/7. My wonderful parents drove down with only a days notice. I have two beautiful little packages of joy and hope, Natalie and Cara.
We’ll need love, understanding, patience, laughter and wine drinking buddies during this fight. What we don’t need is sympathy. There is a fight ahead but we are a happy and fortunate family. We aren’t new to medical battles and we’ll beat this too.