Is the name of this blog jarring? It is supposed to be, because I am still in shock that the person I am writing about is me! So why write about this, why tell the world? A few reasons, for one, I thought if I did everything, "right," it would never happen to me, (like I am sure so many other women out there), secondly I have a lot of people in my life that I love and who love me and want to know how I am doing, so those days when I cannot talk to them to put their fears at ease, they can log on here and read about where I am at. Really though, I need to track my journey, so I can see who I became in the face of all of this.
***Full disclosure, if you have a problem with profanity don’t read on.
I just turned 36 years old 3 short weeks ago, I had a photo shoot (see pic above, nice right? It was meant for my new consulting business I was set to launch) and I was celebrating my 6-month wedding anniversary, to the best man on the planet. I am careful about what I eat, I workout 4 times a week, I don't eat meat or dairy and I had just given up wheat. Man, can I get a high-five?! At my last physical my doctor told me I was super healthy and had lower cholesterol then most people he has seen! I was not on any medications, not even birth control and I am an avid vitamin taker.
So, 6 weeks ago, while laying in bed when I felt what seemed like a lump on my left breast, I was sure it was just a muscle strain. I mean I had been doing all those chest presses at the gym the week before. I asked my hubby, Corey, to feel it and he too was like, “its probably nothing but you should go check it out just in case.” The next week when I went to the doctor, he too said, “given your age and your health it’s probably nothing but to be sure let’s send you for an mamagram and an ultrasound, better safe than sorry.” The next few weeks moved like wild fire, the following week I went for mamagram and ultrasound and 1.5 days later I got a call at work from my doctor, I’ll never forget the sound of his voice and the words that came over the phone, “It’s doctor M, are you at work? Are you sitting down?" First of all who says that, are you sitting down? WTF?? You just asked me if I was at work, no I am not fucking sitting down! “Monique it’s serious, we need to send you for some follow-up tests right away. . .” I thought he was joking, I thought I was dreaming, what was he really trying to tell me?” But at that point he couldn’t tell me for sure, just that it was serious. I didn’t have to wait too long however, a 3-D ultrasound, mamagram, MRI and biopsy later it was confirmed I had breast cancer and it had spread to the lymph nodes (this was not good). Even as I write it, it still seems like it’s a dream/nightmare I may wake-up from. I feel fine, I mean maybe a bit more tired then usual, but who isn’t! People ask me what went through my head when I heard this? I was in disbelief, I couldn’t accept what the doctor was saying to me, all I kept saying to Corey is, “What is he talking about?!” The doctor went on to say a bunch of other things that just melted into a blur of noise, that sounded something like, “. . . we will need to start treatment . . . you will have a team of doctors . . . chemotherapy high success rate . . . you will need surgery . . . radiation . . . fertility specialist . . .” the only thing I could ask him was, “how, is this possible?” He responded with, “Monique, given your age and health you should not be here, there is nothing you did to cause this and nothing you could have done to prevented this.” To which I replied, “But this is stupid, it doesn’t make any sense!” “It is stupid, all we know is 1 in 9 women your age will get breast cancer with no history of it in their family, and we don’t know why ."
Ladies listen up, no one is safe, 1-in-9! WTF?? That is insanely fucked up . . . So, after a few melt downs, some wailing and coaching from the leaders in my life I did what any woman warrior would do, I picked myself up and went to chapters to find out about this fucker that had decided to invade my body. I cried under my dark shades at 6:30 pm on Monday night inside the bookstore, reading whatever I could to try to make sense of what was happening. $100 later I grabbed my pile of books, “Never Fear Cancer Again, You Can say No to Chemo, Cancer is a Word, not a Sentence,” and made my way to my mom’s house to break the news. I felt armed with info, but not armed with the tools to tell the people in my life that love me the most, “SURPRISE ITS CANCER!” It was almost as hard as hearing the news myself. Shock, tears and a lot of, WTFs?? That’s what came in the days and weeks to follow.