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What It's Like Facing a Breast Cancer Diagnosis During the Holidays

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I knew it would come. I have been worried and cried only a little here and there. But last night was my first actual moment to just let out and cry until I couldn’t breath as I got out all of those worries that were attacking my thoughts.

Cancer tries to beat us not only physically, but also mentally. It was getting the best of my mind, only for a short time, but now I am back to myself and ready for an amazing holiday with those I love.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has prayed and been here for me, and more importantly, my kids. I have been on an emotional roller coaster, and I won’t have peace until my next few appointments and the arrival of those test results.

After yesterday and not getting that answer of what I need to do to beat this — as all my test results were not in — topped with the need for more tests to make sure it has not spread, last night I had a breakdown. Google is not my friend right now.

It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown. I know the way I started thinking last night is not unusual and I also know it does not make me weak. What would make me weak would be to let those thoughts take over.

I believe I have a very strong control over my mind and can make myself push things to the back when needed. I can forget things that hurt. I can take a lot of mental stress before I break down. I believe I am strong in that manner.

No, I know I am, and my past has prepared me and made me the person I am today.

Even being that person and being able to function under the worst circumstances, last night into today I haven’t been that person. My mind began to wonder. I feel I have been told through this to be ready for the worst news, as they were very concerned after my mammogram. So I got to thinking I need to prepare for the chance it has spread.

That led to lots of emotions and the need for some kind of information or facts. So what do I do, with it being 1 a.m. and everyone else is in bed? I Google “breast cancer and the risks if it has spread.” Because of course as much as I hate to say it, if it has spread, my biggest worry would be surviving.

As I worry about surviving, the thoughts of my children and family are first. I am not afraid of death. I don’t want to die, but I know it is not my decision to decide when it’s my time. With that being said, I know God will be with me wherever he wants me to go. But if he takes me, who will be there with my kids? The thought of missing even one event of their lives makes me sad, so leaving them forever — that thought breaks every inch of my heart.

While all this of these thoughts were coming, I felt as though my body was like lava and I was just melting away into my fears. My head was full, my heart was hurting and I was taking it all in and letting it all right back out, not to consume me.

As I laid in there in the dark room alone, on the cold floor, away from my family, I got that much needed release so many told me would come. It felt like I could lay in misery forever the way I was thinking, as I finally cried myself to sleep.

This morning I struggled to get out of bed because I felt mentally exhausted. I had not a single bit of motivation at all, and I couldn’t even find the energy to simply take a shower until the doctor called.

I don’t want to write a novel here, but i am going to explain all I know as of now about my situation, as I plan to document my whole journey with pictures, feelings and emotions to help others. As others I know have been helping me.

It has been a long month to get to this point and get the diagnosis I have cancer. It has been full of tests and waiting. As I explained, waiting is the worst because your mind is only left to wonder.

Saturday, I got my biopsy results and was given an appointment date to come and get my options. That appointment was yesterday. Coming home with the information I did yesterday and not having a plan as to how I was going to beat this, left me kind of numb. And led me to what I spoke of earlier.

My test results to let me know if my cancer is estrogen positive or triple negative was one of the reasons for my doctor’s call. I ended up being estrogen positive. As both have their good and their bad, this was good, he insured me. He also insured me of their best intentions and what would be the best way for me to beat this, saying I could and I would.

With that result in I am now waiting on one more to decide if I will have chemo or surgery first. That will be decided on my HER2. If it is positive we will have surgery first. Negative we will start chemo first. All this is if the results of my tests next week come back that the cancer has not spread.

Yes, that is still my worry but, with a plan in action I am able to function.

I made my decision on surgery, as I had some choices and debates on which way to go. My choice was a double mastectomy. I plan to remove both breasts. (A mastectomy is surgery to remove the entire breast. Most of the time, some of the skin and the nipple are also removed. The surgery is most often done to treat breast cancer.) My reasons for this choice are many and every situation is different. I will follow this surgery with reconstructive surgery.

All this is scary and unknown, but knowing there is a way and we are making the right direction is something that will ease my mind as I celebrate and enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday with those I love. My mind can rest now and focus on my blessings and on how grateful I am to be here.

So, as the holidays are here, I will take every moment and every second and embrace it, because we never know our future.

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Getty Images photos via DekiArt

Originally published: November 24, 2017
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