CANCER: TRIPLE NEGATIVE. METASTATIC. BREAST.
I am beginning this blog in the Spring of 2019. My cancer will be 6-years-old in June. It made its first appearance as a lump that I could see and feel, in my left breast. The doctors found another one I couldn’t see or feel, in my right breast. I had a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. In February 2015, I discovered a “local recurrence”—cancer in a lymph node in my left axilla (armpit). I had surgery, in which fourteen lymph nodes were removed: the bad one plus thirteen innocents. After surgery, and healing from surgery, I had radiation. In December 2017, my left shoulder started to hurt. It hurt through bone scans and physical therapy, x-rays, MRIs, chiropracty, full body massage, and acupuncture. It hurt through the gradual loss of function in my left arm. It hurt like a bad day in hell. In July 2018, the right MRI, the right CT scan, and the right doctor came together to identify the tumor in and among the brachial plexus nerves in my left shoulder. Stage IV, Triple Negative, Metastatic Breast Cancer–which has recently spread to my lung and liver. I had radiation again and have now tried three different chemo regimens. The third one seems to be the charm. Fingers crossed.
ME: 59. CALIFORNIAN. RETIRED. UNUSUAL. MARRIED. ONE DAUGHTER.
About me–the person inside-underneath-around the cancer: I’m a 59-year-old lady. I grew up in this foggy tourist town on the magnificent coast of central California and, after briefish sojourns in Baltimore, Boulder, and Palm Springs, I made my life here. For work: I spent five years with a book wholesaler, another five years in the hotel/food and beverage field, then twenty-four years administering rules and regulations for a government agency. I retired in 2015. I may look like your average middle-aged white lady with a thing for pretty clothes, but my mind acts like I’m a teenager with ADD. There’s a lot going on in there. Some of it is charming, unique, creative; the rest is dark, unsavory, disagreeable. I have a husband who’s a dreamboat and a darling grown-up daughter–my only progeny. I have always loved to write—have always known that I could express myself better in words on a page or screen than in words tumbling out of my graceless, pink-lipsticked mouth. And it’s now or never, my friends. Hence, this blog.
BLOG: THE THING ABOUT CANCER
This is my rant about the sadness and silliness, the pain and the absurdity, the aggravations and the ridiculousness of living under a medical death sentence. Keep reading. I think you’re going to like it.
Everyone’s experience of cancer, of care taking, of living in this crazy old universe, is unique. I will try to be gentle with advice here. I’m not an expert in anything. I’m not an expert in anything medical. I’m not an expert in anything psychological. With a memory like mine (brief, selective, Swiss cheese-ish), I’m not even an expert in my own story. Read with a grain of salt. Better yet, with a bag of those lavishly salted pretzels. Or whatever satisfies your cravings. Just read.