I’ve been inside my head for a while trying to talk myself off of the ledge of batshit insanity that people don’t know what’s been going on. There have been a lot of emails, texts, messages that have gone unanswered on my part.
Do I look sick?
I’m going to finally play my cancer card. I can say with a religious-like conviction that I am sick and tired and lonely and desperate and anxious and hopeful and scared and isolated and irritated and fabulous and heartbroken and…and logical and Amazonian and hysterical and fucked and loved and ready and not ready. I’m everything.
I don’t want to feel any of this for the simple reason that I don’t want to. I’m still clawing at it and resisting like a deranged hellcat when it’s cornered, but there’s nowhere else to go but forward.
I met with my doctor the day of my last chemo, which was April 3rd. According to my charts, there was definitely a lot of tumor shrinkage. However, I had to be aware that since it was so large it may have gone into other areas of my body. It is not uncommon for ER+ breast cancer to still be present in the body after surgery. He urged me to schedule surgery within six weeks, but no later as he suggested I have it done as soon as possible. I robotically agreed. I suppose that’s a grey lining to breast cancer because it was far from silver. And the following played inside my head as I’d nod at my doctor like any makeshift adult:
“You may still be sick and die. You can die? What if you die? This is it! You’re gonna die! You’re being a dramatic cunt! Suck it up! Be strong! How can I be strong all I notice that nothing fits. I’ve gained over 15 pounds since I started chemo. Fuckin’ Taxol! Where the fuck are my priorities? I’m more concerned about my weight than my health. Wow…did I just admit that? That’s not my style. Remember how so and so makes you smile on command. Why doesn’t he call? Come back to me, Celeste! Bite your tongue and just focus on the doctor’s forehead. Focus. Focus. Wait…what just happened?”
Yeah, I take frequent swims at the negativity cesspool. After repetitive laps, I come out with a lot of shit trapped in my ear. Some days, it’s a lot. Some days, it’s not.
Do I look sick?
When I met with my plastic surgeon, I told him I agreed with my surgical oncologist on a bilateral mastectomy and that I wanted to go from a DDD cup to a single D cup. Though my plastic surgeon comforted me and I have total confidence in him, my visions of skipping through the fields in a backless sundress were replaced by my own fucked up insecurities:
Looks like someone isn’t going to have sex for a long ass time. Whatever, I’m having a hard time looking at myself, why do I need someone else’s validation when I’m trying not to lose myself? When was the last time I ever had sex? Like I give a shit, like it even matters. Why didn’t so and so want to? How did I get here? Focus, Celeste. Expanders. Implants. Skin sparing mastectomy. Nipple and areola reconstruction. No more breast sensation. I’m never going to have sex again! I can get nipple piercings! I don’t want anyone to touch me. Lies. I want so and so to. Lies. Wait, what’s going on?
I don’t want to feel any of this anymore and definitely, more than ever.
My doctor called scheduled me for an appointment on Monday, I was assuming for pre-operative procedures. My genetic testing came back positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation. As he handed me a folder that breaks down my entire life into percentages, I couldn’t hold my tongue to the roof of my mouth or had an acid quick wisecrack. The tears just took control and I asked my doctor to hug me since I didn’t want to hold myself up anymore. I smeared my noir black eyeliner all over his good suit. It was a really nice suit, probably not his favorite since he didn’t mind the stain.
What does my BRCA 2 gene mutation mean?
It means that the likelihood of my having breast cancer by the age of 50 was nearly 30%. The risk for the general population is 1.9%. My risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 70 was 84%. No matter my lifestyle choice, cancer was going to happen to me. I also have a high risk for developing ovarian cancer; nearly a 30% chance by the time I reach the age of 70. When I discussed my results with my surgical doctor, she said that the chances of developing a second cancer in my left breast is 30% and reassured me that my decision for a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy is my best choice. I also agreed to participate in the research studies she’s conducting.
I don’t want to feel any of this. I don’t want to feel anything that involves having cancer anymore or a bilateral mastectomy or a gene mutation or secondary cancers or percentages. I hate growing pains and as much as I want to be wise or mature about this whole situation, I’m stumbling to do so in this fuckin’ chaos. I hope I’m still coming in loud and clear because I can’t really hear myself anymore.