There are some people who really have their shit together. They are never late, they create budgets and track finances, their kids' hair is brushed, their clothes unwrinkled.
I am not one of these people.
But every once in a while, I do something really, really smart. In 1998, my answer was yes to a mathematician wearing glasses. In 2007 I said yes again – to his repeated pleas to have kids. And last month, I called to get a lump checked out. A lump that I was certain – CERTAIN – was directly related to weaning, nothing more.
There's no easy way to say this. That lump was cancerous. And two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I got the call while driving my son Raines to his first swimming lesson. I pulled over, listened to the doctor, asked a few questions, then thanked him for his time and hung up. I called my husband Mike, and asked him to call my mum. Then I drove to swimming lessons. Because…what else does one do? Is there a protocol for this kind of thing? I had none, and no idea what to do with myself, so on we went. I sat there in the bleachers, trying to keep Pax amused, while all of the other moms and kids and dads and nannies and grandparents and teachers went about their business. Their lives, unaffected, by this…event. This thing, this…cancer, this news that threatened to swallow me whole. I felt like I should've been wearing a sign: WARNING: Breasts Gone Bad. I was a Peanuts cartoon character of myself: everything else was just mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mahm.
The last two weeks have been tough.
The good news is that they caught it early. (No shit, I wanted to say. I am only thirty-freaking-seven, it better be early.) But yes: early is good. The type of cancer they found is called DCIS. DCIS is very early, Stage 0 breast cancer that is incapable of spreading. It is non-invasive. The fear, however, is that it will turn into invasive breast cancer eventually. No one is quite sure on the how, or the why, or even if it will in fact become invasive cancer….but my mum was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer at age 48, so the docs are all in violent agreement: The boobs have gotta go.
Also, I have a lot of it. DCIS, that is.
So in the next month or so, I will be undergoing a double mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery. Once they remove both breasts, they'll do a full biopsy of the removed tissue. If the tissue is clear, or "just" contains more DCIS, I'm done. Case closed. If, however, they do find some invasive cancer, then at that point we'll start talking about chemotherapy.