posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:03 PM
I guess I would be considered a late bloomer, or maybe just a procrastinator. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, until I was
already grown. I went back to school, certain that my future wasn’t written in stone, and certain that I could be one of the success stories that
you read about.
And I was a good student, actually at the top of my class. I excelled under pressure and cringed as the younger girls struggled to keep up their
grades. They had a hard time juggling cheerleading and volleyball and partying and switching boyfriends like they switched their underwear. It was
almost too much for them. They would cry and have tantrums when the professor requested their assignment for the 3rd week in a row. They always had
excuses, and I always had my assignments. Having 3 children, a husband, a household to run and a 2 hour commute everyday didn’t slow me down one
bit. And all of the girls secretly hated me, but that was just fine because I was going to shine as bright as I possibly could.
Every “A” was like a battle wound, it took every ounce of my energy, drained my body of strength, but was absolutely worth it in the end. I
showed those “A” off like I had been at war and they were my medals of honor.
I graduated at the top of my class. Magna Cum Laude, member of two honors societies. With a scholarship from a local hospital, I was basically
promised a position in my field. Damn life is GOOD!
Within two weeks of graduation I was working at MY hospital, making more money than even my husband and loving every frickin’ minute of it. I had
earned this, I had worked my ass off for this and I wasn’t stopping for nothing in the world. I had made it. I had arrived.
Having struggled financially for years, it was so liberating. No more robbing from Peter to pay Paul. No more watching all of my Facebook friends
post vacation pictures while I just sat at home. Oh no, that was all about to change. As soon as the bills were caught up WE were going on vacation,
WE were going to be the ones posting pictures of our SUPER DUPER holiday. And I could breathe, I could literally breathe. Going back to school had
been such a gamble. Like I said, money was tight and I prayed that it would all work out in the end. And it had indeed.
It was a Thursday. I will never forget that it was a Thursday. I came home from work and was standing in the kitchen making dinner and I looked
at my husband of 18 years and said “I feel so blessed, I am just waiting for the other shoe to fall”. Because that is how it had always been.
One step forward, two steps back. Can’t win for losing. When my ship came in, I was always at the airport. Two hours later, I found it.
I was taking my nightly bath when I found a lump in my right breast. Of course the fact that my sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer three
years earlier only made matters worse. But I was on 39, so I probably shouldn’t have panicked, but I did anyway.
Working in ultrasound sure had its advantages. I went to work the next day and scanned myself. Sure didn’t look normal. I showed one of the
other girls my images and she said I needed a mammogram. No problem, my OB is in the same hospital. Quick trip down a corridor or two and I was back
with the order. Mammograms hurt like hell, but it was done and the radiologist was reading it before I was even dressed. He said I needed to have a
real ultrasound, not one that I did myself, standing up. One of the girls volunteered and the show went on. Until she said that the radiologist was
going to want to scan me. She was right, he was in in a flash and not very happy with what he saw. He said I needed a biopsy and he could do it
then. So things were moving right along, numb me up, stick the needle in a couple of times, ice pack for the bruising, go home and try to relax. Man
it was going to be a long weekend.
Monday morning came way to slow, but I was out the door in record time. The radiologist that had done my biopsy wasn’t in and because of HIPPA
laws I couldn’t get into my own records. I grabbed the first radiologist that I ran into in the department. He was younger than me, by maybe 10
years, but whatever. I explained to him that I was new in the department and that I had had a biopsy on Friday, could he help me out and see if the
pathology report was back yet?? “Sure, sure I can. No problem honey.” He sat down behind his computer in his dark office and asked me my name.
He typed it in and a document came up on the screen, I didn’t even see whose name was on it. My eyes only saw 3 words, “Invasive Ductal
Carcinoma.” I just remember frantically searching for my name, I couldn’t find my name, and all I could say was “is that me, is that me?”
“I’m so sorry honey, here sit down. I’m so sorry, you are so young.” He said other things to me I’m sure, but I don’t remember them. I
talked to the appropriate people; the people who told me to take the rest of the day off. Go be with your family, take all the time you need, type
I don’t remember the drive home, but regardless, I made it there. I found my husband waiting for me in the garage. That was the moment that my
life swerved off course and it became clear from the look in his eyes that none of this was a dream. It was all true. I had cancer. I had the pink
ribbon cancer. Breast cancer. My 16 year old son came to the door and with tears in eyes that never cry, he said “is it treatable Mom?” That’s
a wake-up call isn’t it? When our teenage sons worry about US, something is really wrong.
Over the next couple of days I saw 2 different surgeons. The first suggested that I have a complete mastectomy. Both breasts, bye girls, it’s
been nice knowing ya. My age, my family history, it all said both breasts needed to go. The next surgeon, my reconstructionist, had the pleasure of
telling me about the agony I would be experiencing for the next several months. As soon as my breasts were removed, he would put my “tissue
expanders” under my pectoralis muscles and gradually, over time, they would fill them with saline in order to stretch the muscle and skin. I forgot
how to breathe again. Then he started measuring me and made the comment “your breasts sure have gone south”, oh sorry I guess I hadn’t noticed.
It’s not like I had to move them before I tied my shoes. Sheesh give a girl a break, 3 kids buddy, 3 kids.