Afghans

The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries

I used to think that once a person is diagnosed with cancer they automatically end up in a hospital bed fighting for their life. I pictured a victim of breast cancer wearing a turban and bandages from the chemo port. Handmade afghans with a zig-zag of mustard yellow colors and photos of family sitting on the bedside table.

I guess that was my 12-year-old brain’s idea of someone with cancer. The reality is that I’m just walking around with cancer as if nothing is wrong. I go to work with cancer. I give presentations with cancer. I go to the grocery store with cancer. I make dinner with cancer. I have conversations about random life experiences with cancer. I feel like I need to tell people what the hell is going on. I talk to the cashier in the check-out lane and consider informing her on my impending ordeal.

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Cancer

The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries

I was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday.

The news didn’t come as a complete surprise. I found a lump in my left breast mid-October. I quickly made a doctors appointment thinking it was a cyst. I’ve had cysts in other parts of my body in the past that needed to be removed. I convinced myself that was all it was. The diagnosis came after many mammogram images and a biopsy. The biopsy was painful and they couldn’t feel the lump unless I was sitting up, so I had to hold myself in an awkward position for a while. Interestingly, they had a hard time even seeing it on the ultrasound. Yet, the radiologist was quite sure he was looking at cancer. The results came in and I got the phone call. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.

Cancer.

The word just hangs there like a spider dangling from a web. You find yourself bobbing and weaving to avoid the sticky snare, fear of the spider finding its way to your skin.

The radiologist was very sweet trying to make me feel better as he slowly described his accuracy at identifying cancer. Tears fell from my face. I just started my Master’s classes. Would I need to put that on hold? I thought about how I would tell my kids. I felt like my life was over. He told a story about going to an event with his wife. who also is a breast cancer survivor. The event was at a mall celebrating breast cancer awareness month by saving pink parking spots for survivors. He said the lots were full. I know he was trying to tell me that I will be a survivor too.