• shelley@heradvice.ca
  • Vancouver, Canada

What the hell is that?

I first searched “images of bilateral mastectomy with expanders” before I started to type tonight. I don’t recommend this search.
I’m not sure what to write. My intention was to let to you know what I am now preparing for, but good lord… that is terrifying and if you don’t mind, I’m going to wait until I’m more prepared to talk about that surgery. Quite frankly, I’m terrified of it. If you googled, you are too!

I’m sure that It’s kind of like bungee jumping, climbing Mt Everest or like as a child going on your first sleepover… you really want to do it and you’ve got all the plans/People etc in place, but you’re so scared you could just abort the whole mission and run and hide instead. Yep, that’s how I am feeling right now.

Our time away to Nashville was awesome. I have thought of those musicians and the many great experiences we had there many times since we’ve been back, if I could teleport right back to Broadway, I would. It was a great escape. Particularly for me. I love country music. I love live music. I love meeting and getting to know new people and I LOVE to dance. It was perfect. I hardly thought about a thing.

Our travel day home was long and as soon as I got to the house I hit the shower. Riding on airplanes always feels like sitting in a Petri dish to me so a long hot shower was the plan. First the como stance under the perfect pressure of the showerhead for about 4 mins… ahhh… then some organic, chemical free body soap that barely lathers to wash myself. Then, oh my god what is that!? What the hell is that I feel in my left breast??

The ductal carcinoma that was found in December is in my right breast. With everything that I have had to do with the sudden, and at almost the same time, ovarian cancer diagnosis, I have had to patiently wait for the surgery to remove my breast tissue. Now, during the waiting, I had discovered a new lump in my left breast.

I want to be honest. This has got me down. Like, for the first time thoughts have gone through my head like “am I going to die from fucking this disease?” “Are they missing things and taking too much time to deal with this?” “Am I crazy?” “Is that really a lump I feel?” “Should I even tell anyone?”

First of all, I do not want to die. Secondly, no one has ever said that is anything I should worry about with either of these cancers. So that is fear based irrational thinking. The problem is, I don’t think anyone really knows for sure.

The morning after my new lumpy shower was Friday the 13th. I was only able to leave messages for my breast oncologist and my family doctor but wasn’t able to get ahold of anyone. I didn’t tell anyone about the new lump except Paul. He’s pretty safe as his way of dealing with all of this has mostly been to try to deny any of it is really happening. He said, “oh honey.” And gave me a hug. He didn’t ask where or want to feel it. I actually remember the first time I took his hand and had him feel a lump that was being biopsied at the time. He was so uncomfortable and after feeling it, I remember he went to wipe his hand. I think cancer may scare him more than it does me. He doesn’t really have any experience with it. Put his fear of cancer and his love for me together and I think denial of it all is likely an acceptable way for him to get through this.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Paul is incredibly supportive in many, many ways but actually talking about what is going on in and with my body is not one way that he is comfortable with. I know that he just wants us to get through this and start living our amazing life together again. I want that too, but I am going to need some more time.

It has taken almost 2 weeks to get an ultrasound set up for me and my new lumpy. I will go to BC cancer care on Wednesday for that. I’m sure it is likely nothing. I’m going to keep praying for that. And, even if it is something, I am 10 days from surgery so hopefully it can just all come out then anyways.

I have a dear friend that I adore named Silke. She lives in Winnipeg and around the very same time that I was diagnosed so was she. She however has a very aggressive brain cancer. I want to see her and hug her and giggle with her. We have always been great laughter partners. I have postponed two trips to Winnipeg in the last week so really hope all is good and I can get to the Peg to see her and to get in a good visit with my Auntie Helen, Donna and Al before I am all laid up again. I wish I had a couple of weeks for Winnipeg to be honest. There are so many wonderful friends there that I would love to see and hug right now. It was be awesome if I could spend some time there to fill my soul back up with all that love.

Everything about all of this has really become a reality to me in the past couple of weeks. Nothing is the same in my body. With all of my missing hormones, my joints ache like crazy, especially my hips and legs. I am either really cold or flashing hot. I have most of my appetite back but am feeling bloated again and my bladder seems to be really urgent again, similar to my symptoms before my very first surgery. Makes me wonder, Is that me going crazy, my hormones, my GCT… And, will I forever wonder with every ache and cramp and change in my body if it is cancer or just life?

Meditation helps. Time with my family helps. Walks with Mischa help. But I am finding that laying low and hiding out is what I am desiring most.

Is that cancer? Or hormones? Or just the sheer mental exhaustion of it all.

I’m not sure.

Either way, #igotthis

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