So, as any of you who are friends with me on Facebook or Instagram know, this has been an amazing week of vacation for my family and me in the US and British Virgin Islands. And I’m sure many of you have also figured out it has allowed me to have a certain amount of detachment from my diagnosis and what lies ahead. This all couldn’t be as serious as the little bit of reading I’ve done online, could it? I still feel great, I can hike. I can run, I can swim. I can even save 78 year old Dottie from Southampton, who cramped and couldn’t handle the wind on her standup paddleboard. I pushed her and her board for a good 500 yards, an unplanned anaerobic addition to my second swim of the day. She was grateful and lovely, and I was happy to help. So really, how bad could this be? A mistake maybe?
I had my Team Coeur kit for 2017 with me and thought about wearing it, but felt that my “Heart and Courage” kit was appropriate for my last run before starting the attack on the unwelcome parasite who’s inhabiting space in my body.
Well, lets fast forward through the rest of the day and get to the airport the next afternoon. Our flight is delayed, we are sitting at a very crowded bar having a drink that I shouldn’t be having. My phone rings, I look and recognize the Memorial Sloan Kettering exchange so I answer. It’s a doctor who asks if I’d be part of a study of women with triple negative breast cancer. He begins to explain the difficulties in treating triple negative and how this will all be part of my pre surgical and surgical procedure. And I cut off the conversation and ask that he email me the information because I just can’t process it. And all of a sudden it hits me hard, in the middle of this crowded airport in the tropics, that I have cancer. And I have tests scheduled for tomorrow. And a surgery scheduled for Friday. And one way or the other, the course of my life has changed. And the course of treatment is going to suck. And even my surgery could become much more radical than planned at this moment.
How do I feel about possibly needing a double mastectomy? How do I feel about losing my hair? How do I feel about chemotheapy, filling my body with poison? Radiation? All I know about radiation is my mother had burns on her back from radiation. I know I don’t want to leave my husband, or my daughter, or the grandchildren I hope to have one day. I don’t have any answers, or any control over what’s to come.
But, just like Scarlet O’Hara, who I’ve identified with my whole life . . . tomorrow’s another day. And I just said to my husband, maybe I can set my sites on doing the Atlantic City Triathlon? Even if I’m dead last in the sprint, it’s a start on the road back. I’m hoping DelMo can find room for a last minute entry? I just need to get through what’s ahead.