I don't want to feel weak. I don't want to lose my hair. I don't want my family to have to take care of me. I especially don't want to share all of this with a lot of people I don't even know...but it's all going to happen that way, because it has to.
As a news reporter and anchor in Utah for more than 20 years now, I have to see sharing this as an opportunity to tell a story that might save someone's life. Funny...doing an awareness story saved my life! I did a mammogram story late in October thinking that by seeing how easy it is for me to do, others will follow through on their screenings.
The mammogram I had that day is what detected a small tumor in my left breast.
Things happened quickly as we went through more testing. Words kept getting scarier: "Small, caught early, curable." "Ultrasound, biopsy, CANCER." "MRI, surgery, CHEMO." "Lumpectomy, possible mastectomy, RADIATION."
Like covering a news story, I had to look further into every word, and every possible angle. I am becoming a regular on Cancer Information websites to find answers, but not always really wanting to know. Hope for the best, and plan for the worst. It seemed like every step of the way, the worst case scenario was the answer for my case. Yes, it's malignant. Yes, it's invasive. No, it can't be treated with hormone attacking therapy.
I will be a bit relieved once this is all public and I don't have to explain everything to everyone I tell. I do fine when I keep it to the positive and the clinical explanations, but a few times, when first telling some friends, emotions came out. Not really breaking down, but sad at having to give someone bad news. I haven't cried as much as I thought I would. I feel like I have to stay strong to keep everyone else positive. I am really determined to keep my life and activities as normal as possible through everything that's to come.
Our twins will turn 15 in February, and I'll likely be going through chemotherapy for their birthday. I will not missmy son's basketball games, and will cheer (with unsolicited coaching) at my daughter's volleyball tournaments! I will drag my butt out of bed at 2:30 in the morning to get to work on time. Maybe I can sleep an extra half hour, if I have to wear a wig! I will cook my favorite meals for my family, and not let my awesome husband become a full time nurse for me (even though he's pretty dang good at it!)
The doctors through all of this have been incredible. Dr. Brett Parkinson is overseeing my care and is the one who diagnosed my cancer. Dr. Clark Rasmussen is the surgeon who removed the tumor and two lymph nodes with expert precision and care. (The lymph nodes were cancer-free, btw!) I had the surgery right before going home to Seattle for Christmas, and my huge, supportive
family helped me heal and keep the positive attitude! I can't really write about all the friends and co-workers who are great through this, because I'd have to start another paragraph, and they'd say this is too long already!
I'll try to do updates every week or so. In the meantime- get your screenings, and spread the word!!!