This was not the story I had planned.
In the midst of a shower one day, I decided I needed to do a self breast exam. I just sensed I needed to. As soon as I started, I knew. I found the hard mass and started to cry. I called my husband, Jason, crying. I called a friend, crying. I just knew.
We sought out the proper doctors, the surgeons, the oncologist, and our fears were confirmed on a blazing hot summer day. The breast surgeon sat down and looked me straight in the eye: “I have seen the report from your biopsy, and you do, in fact, have cancer.” From that point, I felt like Charlie Brown in school. Wahh, wahh, wahh . . . mastectomy . . . wah, wah, wah . . . you will lose all your hair . . . wah, wah, wah . . . aggressive cancer. I kept looking at my dear friend Anna, who we had brought along to take notes. With tears in her eyes, she was frantically writing.
From the point the doctor confirmed cancer, I could not take in any other words coming out of her mouth. She spoke with confidence about my next steps, but I was more crumpled than the paper I was sitting on in her stark office. She came to my side to show me the devastation that cancer had had on my breast. We left the office and sat in the car for a very long time and cried.
Stripping My Pride
We stumbled in those first days to know how to live, to remember to eat, and to find life in the midst of our horror and diagnosis and stress.1