I wasn’t blogging much early in my diagnosis. In fact, I didn’t officially start my blog till almost a month after diagnosis. Sometimes I feel a need to go back and write down what I remember from the early days. For my kids maybe? So I remember how far I’ve come? I don’t know. Maybe because I really don’t want to ever forget. Amazingly enough I don’t. It’s a memory of weakness and of strength, and everything in between. It marked the beginning of the hardest journey of my life thus far. And so, it is forever a part of me.
I remember that it was a Monday. I had my ultrasound on the Thursday before and was sent immediately over to the surgeon’s for her to dig around for an abscess. We were all sure it was a bad infection since I was breastfeeding and it looked like mastitis. I sincerely think we all wanted to find an abcess at this point and I remember Dr. Kalanowski digging for a while. I laugh now at thinking how horrible it was that I had this little hole in my breast. Little did I know she would be removing them completely less than 6 months later. She did the biopsy even though we were SURE it wasn’t cancer. In fact, she really wanted me to see an infectious disease specialist because it was probably something weird and strange and totally treatable. Totally X-files or House worthy, I was sure of it.
So I waited over the weekend. I remember them telling me I needed to stop breastfeeding on that side. Which I did… not. I am not always the most agreeable patient. I actually called my midwife about this and when she told me if it was cancerI could be passing the cancer cells on to Elijah I became very agreeable. Yikes! And she also said this “Jen, you have no history of reoccurring mastitis.” This is when it hit me hard. THEY REALLY THINK I HAVE CANCER! And I quit breastfeeding Elijah on that side. (and just for the record there has never been a documented case of a baby getting cancer through breastmilk and they are pretty sure any cancer cells would burn off from the stomch acid. And thank goodness for that info because breastfeeding is the only thing I felt like I was doing 100% right as a mom and I’ll be damned if cancer can take that from me as well…lol!)
So the call came around 12:15 pm 0n Monday, February 4th. I think some people have this feeling that telling someone over the phone that they have cancer is pretty cold, but I don’t really think there’s any good way to tell someone they have cancer. The optimal situation would be face to face, but if my surgeon had said, “you need to come in to the office,” I would have known right there and then that it was bad news. So what could she do. She had to do it over the phone. I think I yelled obscenities at her….just kidding…actually, this is where it gets fuzzy. I really think all I said was like “oh” or something really profound like that. I remember her then telling me I needed to come in so we could talk about it and she could close me up because there was no sense leaving me open hoping for a crazy X-files infection anymore.
Here are some funny little things that I remember…..I was making macaroni and cheese for Meleah and Elijah and I think I called Jeremy because I remember him getting home quicker than ever before. And I remember crying over the macaroni and telling Meleah how sorry I was and she had this funny little nervous laugh like “what the heck is going on mom!” I think I just told her I was I was really sad about something and to go back to watching T.V.
And when Jeremy got home all I could say was “I’m so sorry” over and over again because I knew this would be hell for him and when you first hear the words “it’s cancer,” all you can think is “I’m going to die,” and since I had a few days to browse the internet because someone had accidentally muttered the words INFLAMMATORY breast cancer, not just breast cancer, I knew I was in trouble because none of the IBC info is really up to date and so the statistics look downright grim.
And that’s how it was. This is the first recollections I have of my diagnosis. It’s a blur after that for about two weeks. Nothing but a hazy fog. I walked around in a complete daze and threw up a few times before I caught my bearings.