breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Every Morning I Relive My Diagnosis

Either Sunday evenings or Monday mornings, lately, it’s Monday mornings, I fill my pill holder with the pill I need to survive, the pill I need to help my allergies and stop bone pain, the two pills I need to counter my mostly uncontrollable hot flashes, and the pill I take to combat hair loss caused by the pill I need to survive.

Five pills. Every. Single. Day.

I’ve forgotten to take them exactly once. That happened when I switched to arimidex. I had a panic attack in the hospital after my DIEP reconstruction when my plastic surgeon told me I couldn’t take my tamoxifen because of a potential side effect with bleeding. I made my plastic surgeon tell me every single day I was in the hospital why I couldn’t take it. He ended up bringing me literature to read about it. I still called Dr. O, who assured me the few days I would be off tamoxifen were negligible because of its long half-life.

I’m positive if someone told me to stop taking these pills, I would panic. I know it can’t stop the cancer from returning if it’s determined to return, but it’s the best chance I have, along with zometa, which I still haven’t heard if my insurance has approved it, to keep my body an inhospitable place for ER+ cancer to reside.

That and losing fifty pounds. And drinking more water. And exercising.

I have the day off today. My house is quiet. AJ and S are out with A. I chose to stay home because I have a crazy busy week ahead of me. I see Dr. H tomorrow for my six month check up with her. It’s strange, but appointments with her don’t cause my anxiety to rise even though she’s the one who told us exactly what kind of cancer I faced and what my treatments would be. She’s the one who told me my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.

She’s also the one who came to see me early the morning after preforming my mastectomy because she said she needed to see me. She said she knew I would be heading down the worst case scenario train in my mind and she wanted to talk me through everything she knew at the time. She’s the one who told me that the cancer in my lymph nodes and lymph channels was not necessarily a death sentence.

She’s also the one I call, most of the time, when something isn’t right. A new lump. A strange place on the skin. She sees me almost immediately. She’s the one who sent me for imaging last year when she wasn’t 100% sure a lump in my left foob was fat necrosis and asked the radiologist performing the ultrasound to tell me exactly what he saw because she would not send me home knowing nothing because I was terrified. It was fat necrosis.

She’s the one who Dr. B, my longtime OBGYN, sent me to see after I asked her who she would see. She said Dr. H’s name and said, “MY doctor.”

With Dr. H, I don’t feel like a patient, a statistic. I’m a person with a name and a need, and she knows it. Her whole office staff is that way. I’m sure tomorrow my anxiety will flare, and I’m sure walking into Methodist tomorrow afternoon will be hard because I pass by radiation oncology to get to breast oncology, and as wonderful as the radiology oncology department was to me, radiation is a level of hell I never knew existed.

I relive my diagnosis every single day. If it’s not the pills, it’s the doctor’s appointments. If it’s not the doctor’s appointments, it’s the news and social media. If it’s not the GOP destroying health care in America, it’s something.

Every single day reminds me of what I’ve lost and what I stand to lose, and the hell of it is, there is nothing, really, I can do except take the pills and go to the doctor’s appointments. I could do everything right and the cancer could come back. I could

do everything wrong and live to be 101.

I’m a pawn in the chess game of Fate. Forever in limbo, forever reminded of what cancer has done, can do, and might do. Forever wondering what the next move will be.

breast cancer, family, kids, life, Uncategorized

Hair of a discovery


Yeah, I know…terrible pseudo pun for a title.

Yesterday, S had her annual dance recital. She’s been dancing since she was four, and until this year, she’s loved dancing. This year, something changed. It’s not that she hates it. It’s boring, according to her. She says it’s not fun anymore. I hate that for her because she’s a graceful, beautiful dancer. I don’t know if it’s her dance school or if it’s tween angst. Whatever it is, we have to figure it out because I’m not allowing her to quit. It’s a rule in our house -you do a school activity and an after school activity. She does theater and choir at school and dance after school one night a week. She also does art once a week, but for her, that’s not an activity -it’s her passion. She’d no sooner quit art than I’d quit teaching. It’s a dilemma. We’ll figure it out.

It’s the dance recital that brought about a bittersweet, embarrassing, maybe a little horrifying, hair discovery, though. S’s hair, her curly, never been straight in her life hair, had to be in a low bun for recital. It’s not our first dance recital hair and make up rodeo, though. We have a system, or more aptly, I have a plan of attack for her hair -wash it with conditioner, spray it with leave in conditioner, comb it with a wide tooth comb, pull it into a ponytail, grab part of a cut-up sock, roll her hair around the sock, anchor it with bobby pins, spray with hairspray, hope it stays.

It usually does.


I haven’t needed the dance recital hair bag since we moved, and yesterday, about three hours before recital, it dawned on me that I had no clue where I put the bag. I looked in my travel bag. Nope. I looked in the baskets under my sink. Nope. I asked S if she knew where it was. Yeah right…Nope. I went back into my bathroom and pulled the make up train cases from underneath the sink. I opened the first one and came to a screeching stop in my hunt for S’s dance recital hair bag.

I found my own. My baggie. My quart sized freezer bag where, as my hair fell out from chemo and I found it, I quietly stored it. Collected it.

I kept my hair.

Gross. Why would you do that?

I needed to hang onto a bit of me. I needed some control because I had none from the moment cancer became my life.

I remember when my hair first began falling out. Nothing really prepares you for it to happen. The first chunk came out in October 2015 after school as I sat at my desk during tutorials. I absent mindedly brushed my hand through my hair and came away holding a chunk. One of my students saw it, saw me, and made it better by reminding me I could have any color of hair I wanted. I threw that chunk in the trash, convinced, for some asinine reason, I wouldn’t lose all my hair.

It came out in chunks after that, and if I could, I kept it, my hair. I stuffed it into that baggie. Some days, I sobbed over the hair in that bag. I hated my precancer hair. It was thin, unhealthy, fly away, damaged by products, dry. But, it was mine. When the day came when I finally had the courage to ask A to shave it off, he cut what was left off before shaving my head. He put that hair into the baggie, too.

I have no secrets from him, even when I think I do.

Yesterday, that baggie sucker-punched me. It reminded me of the one thing I feared as I underwent chemo -hair loss is one undeniable sign of a cancer patient, and dammit, I didn’t and don’t want to be known as just a cancer patient. I didn’t want the pitying stare we’re guilty of giving cancer patients, I didn’t want to see the relief in people’s eyes that it’s me with cancer and not them (and therefore by the grace of God go you because once upon a time, I did that as well), and I didn’t want the questions.

I wanted to be me. So, I saved part of me.

I zipped up the train case with the baggie still in it, and I slid it back into the cabinet. My fingers lingered on it for a moment. I lingered for a moment. Then, I rose, stared at myself in the mirror. I’m not that woman anymore, the one who squirreled away her hair. I’m harder, bitter. I’m kinder, grateful.

Then, I opened the side drawer of my bathroom counter and found S’s dance recital hair bag, yelled for her to put on a tank top, grab her comb, and get into my bathroom for hair and make up.

Life goes on.

breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Look at the tears

He watched me cry tonight. It’s hard, walking this line, trying to be normal yet knowing you’ll never be who you were before those four words, “you have breast cancer,” came out of the doctor’s mouth.

The tears that ran down my face were tears of mourning. I cried for what I’ve lost and what I’ve gained.

I lost my breasts. I gained fake ones. I lost feeling below my belly button to create those fake ones. I gained a flatter stomach with an incision still trying to heal where fluid leaks and stitches come through the skin. I lost my hair. It’s slowly growing back. Do I want to keep it short so it’ll be easier to shave off if cancer knocks on my door again? Do I grow it out in defiance, as a middle finger, to cancer should cancer knock on my door again? I lost my sense of well-being. I gained an appreciation for moments. I lost a year of my life to treatments. I gained stiff joints and aching feet.

Pinktober is overwhelming. Being a young breast cancer patient is overwhelming. Advice comes from all corners, and it makes me question everything I do. Eventually, it becomes too much, and when it does, he watches me cry. Silent tears run hot down my cheeks. I feel safe enough to let my mask, my facade, slip away, to let the cracks show. I don’t let the mask go with many people, but I do with him.

It renders him helpless, the tears, the quiet cracking, the slipping of the mask. He wants to help, but he can’t. The emotions are mine. The losses are mine. The aches are mine. The scars are mine. He has his own, though. This journey changed him, too. Scarred him, too. He hides them easier than I do, and I’m envious.

Time hasn’t healed my wounds, yet. Maybe it never will. Maybe I don’t have enough time left for time to heal these wounds. Maybe I will be lucky and live long enough for time to scar the wounds on my soul.

I’m ready for October to be over. I’m ready for less pink. Pink is my trigger now. The sight of it, of the ribbon, fills me with apprehension. It puts me on guard for it symbolizes that which causes the tears. It reminds me of the aches and pains. Somehow, they’re more acute.

Can’t you just let it go? Can’t you just move on? Can’t you celebrate the fact you’re alive? Can’t you be you?

Look at the tears. They are my answer


breast cancer, family, kids, life, teaching, Uncategorized

It’s been a year…

Found on Pinterest via allwomenstalk. No infringement intended. 


The first week of school is over. I made it. There is no tired like the first week of school tired for teachers and students. For fun, my abdominal incision from my DIEP split open slightly in the dead middle of my abdomen. The split is about four inches long. It’s not infected. It is weeping some. I saw Dr. L, my plastic surgeon, on Wednesday. He told me he isn’t concerned, we do standard wound care, and he’ll see me again in three weeks. He did say if it turns red and hot or starts smelling really bad, I should call asap.

That’s lovely.

He also told me where my incision split is the most common place for a DIEP abdominal incision to split because the skin is pulled the tightest there. He said there is a lot of tension in that area, and now, that area is farthest from the blood supply, so this isn’t an uncommon complication. Best case scenario, the split slowly heals on its own. Worst case scenario, I have to have another surgery to stitch it back together.

I guess the fact that 24 inches of the incision healed really well makes up for the 4 inches that are currently being stupid.

I had what I hope is my second to last Herceptin treatment yesterday.

Today is the one year anniversary of being told I have (had?) breast cancer.

A told me yesterday evening that I get to be upset about it for one day, but after that, no more. I told him this has been such a terrible year. He agreed…to an extent. He reminded me of the good things that happened over the last year: I have a job I love where I work with amazing people; S and AJ had a good school year and are off to a great start to this school year; we are blessed to have such a strong and loving support system of friends, family, and coworkers; I’ve lost thirty pounds; I like my hair short, and so does he; I kicked my Coca Cola addiction; I discovered a love for crazy hair and hair colors; I’m still here.

Yes, this year was difficult. Yes, I’ve struggled. A lot. Yes, there are days where I still feel like cancer will get the best of me and will take my life. Yes, I still cry over what’s happened to me and what it’s done to my family. Yes, I still wonder what I did to have cancer happen to me at 37. Yes, I still have one-sided rants at God. Yes, I hug my children a little tighter and say yes to more things than I should (Pokemon hunting…Legos…late night Uno…take out dinners). Yes, I still have nightmares (fewer and farther between).

As hard as this year has been, I’ve learned some things about myself, though, too. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned to admit when I can’t do something. I’ve learned it’s ok to admit when I’m overwhelmed. I’ve learned it’s ok to cry on a friend’s shoulder when I need to cry. I’ve learned it’s ok to take time for me. I’ve learned I can face my worst fear. I may not always face it head on, I may let it break me sometimes, but I put the pieces back together and face the next day.

I don’t want to be weak. I’ve allowed cancer to steal so much from me…my joy, my smile, my balance, my happy, my peace. It’s been a struggle to find those again, and to be honest, I haven’t found them in any sort of consistent manner. Last night, A told me he needs me to find my smile again. He told me he misses my smile, my happy. I need to find my smile, my happy, my joy, my peace again.

So, I’ll work on finding my smile, my joy, my happy, my peace. And, I’ll work on remembering, I’m still here…I’m still me. I’m  just changed by the obstacles put in front of me since August 27, 2015.

breast cancer, family, life, Uncategorized

Goodbye long hair

imageI packed up my wigs today as I packed up our master bathroom. We’re in the throes of decluttering around here as we prepare our house to go on the market. It took me all of last week to get the kitchen and living room decluttered and packed up except for the essentials. So far, it’s taken me all of this week to work in our master bedroom, bathroom, and closet. Today, I’m working in the master bathroom, where I’ve kept my wigs on wig stands since October 2015.

When my hair started falling out, I thought I’d never feel like myself again. I’ve always had long hair. My mom never cut it short when I was a kid. I couldn’t imagine what I’d look with short hair, much less no hair.

I remember sitting in my classroom one afternoon in October with over a dozen kids in my room for a test retake, and while I sat there, grading papers, I ran my hand through my hair, a handful came out, and I froze. I just stared at it. I tried not to cry. I had kids in my classroom. I couldn’t lose it in front of them. I’d been their teacher less than two months at that point. I didn’t want to seem weak.

Two kids saw it, saw me, and exchanged a look with each other. The boy shook his head at the girl, and they both went back to what they were working on, and within a few minutes, the boy said, quietly, “You know what, Mrs. V? Next week, you’ll be able to wear whatever color hair you want to school and no one will say anything to you about it.” That moment of kindness from a sixteen year old is something I will never forget.

I started wearing wigs after that and wore them almost everyday until this March when I woke up one Friday morning, decided I just didn’t care anymore, and went to work wigless. I’ve gone wigless since that day, yet packing up my wigs today was bittersweet. I put each of them on…my red and white striped one, my favorite black and blue one, the purple and black one my mom looked everywhere to find, my brown one that perfectly matched my precancer hair color, my other brown one with golden red highlights I wore most often.

I’ve become accustomed to my short hair. I’m glad to have hair again. I wonder if I’ll get to keep my hair, or will I lose it again to a cancer recurrence?

My scumbag brain reared its loveliness this week. I had an echocardiogram on Tuesday prior to Herceptin. I guess it went ok. I haven’t heard anything. I’m down to four Herceptin treatments. I have reconstruction in a month. Our new house has a foundation and plumbing. We went to design on Monday and picked out the interior features. My scumbag brain whispered, “You know you may never get to live there, or if you do, it may only be while you’re dying.”

Thanks scumbag brain. Thanks so much for that one. Jerk.

A friend of mine, who is an 11 year survivor of HER2/ER+ breast cancer, sees the same oncologist I do, and she was there on Tuesday for her yearly check up. She met me after her appointment and sat with me for awhile during Herceptin. I told her some of my fears. She listened. She just listened. I needed that. She has a soothing, calming presence. She came running up to the hospital the night of my surgery when we found out the cancer was in my lymph nodes because A called her and asked her to come. Then, she sat with me and told him to go away while we talked because she’d been in my shoes. She knew how I felt. I talked. She listened.

She’s one of my inspirations. I want to be like her, not just a cancer survivor, but to have the peace she has, the calm nature. She gives and gives and gives to others while still taking time for her own well-being and lives her life.

I’m grateful for friends like her as I near, what I hope, is the end of this cancer treatment portion of the cancer coaster ride. Friends like her help me find my peace when it’s run away.

I know my seat on the cancer coaster is a permanent one, but as I packed away my wigs today and said goodbye to my long hair, I hoped that maybe this closes out one segment of the coaster and maybe another one will begin where the dips and drops and hills and climbs will be less sudden, where the track will be more even, and where there will be more moments to just enjoy the scenery instead of watching it scream by as I hurtle down a heart stopping drop. Maybe there will be many more moments of even track and less moments of despair.

breast cancer, life, teaching, Uncategorized


I woke up a little late on Friday a week ago, and I decided I just didn’t care anymore what anyone thinks of my hair. So, I went to work without a wig or hat. I threw a wig in my bag, just in case I was uncomfortable.

When the bell rang for the kids to go to first period, one of my students came in as I stood writing on the white board with my back to him. He thought I was a sub until I turned around. He stared at me, I stared at him, and he shrugged. “No one cares what your head looks like, Mrs. V. We’re just glad you’re back,” he told me and wandered over to the coffee maker I keep in my room for us to use.

He read my mind. I was worried I looked silly and everyone would think I looked stupid. But, he was right. None of my students said a thing about it. I got a couple of strange looks, but no more than I get when I wear my black and blue or black and purple wigs to school.

It felt good to be wigless. I like my wigs, but I’m all about comfort right now, and sometimes, my wigs are uncomfortable. I get hot. My head itches. So, on that Friday, it felt good to be wigless at work, and I’ve gone wigless everyday since (at least to work).

The amusing part of my hair coming back is how much darker it is. It’s either black or really dark brown, and my eyebrows don’t match it. At all. I really figured someone would comment on my eyebrows, but no one did. They’re still falling out, so I sucked it up last week, went to MAC, and got an eyebrow lesson and powder. I bought a two-color palette with a medium brown and a dark brown. I’ve been using the medium, but I need to use the dark brown if I’m going wigless.

I don’t know if I’ll go wigless everyday now, but at least I feel like I can.

breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Little by little

My hair is slooooooowly growing back. I never lost all of it, but I lost a majority of it. After awhile, it looked so bad, I asked A to shave my head.

(Pictures below are from left to right: October 2015 (after 2nd chemo), November 2015 (after 3rd chemo), February 2016 (after surgery), and March 2016 (8 wks since chemo 6/6))

I’m glad it’s growing back. When it first started coming back in late January/early February, it looked really thin. The third picture is from February right after surgery. I had thin hair before I lost it, and in early February, it looked like it was coming back even thinner than before. I was really disheartened because as much as I hated my thin hair before chemo, I wanted to have hair again that wasn’t a wig. I like my wigs, don’t get me wrong. Yesterday, someone at the store asked me what conditioner I use on my hair because it was so soft and shiny. I laughed and told them it was whatever spray in conditioner the wig shop gave me for my wigs. She was a little dumbfounded my hair was/is a wig. It really does look fairly natural, I guess.

The fourth picture is from today, eight weeks from my last chemo treatment. It’s filled in quite a bit. I’m not going to say I’m happy with it, but I’m happier than I was a month ago. It looks darker. A lot darker than my golden, medium brown hair before chemo. It almost looks black. My dad has black hair, and when I was born, my hair was black, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for my hair to be black or really dark brown. It’s just strange. My eyebrows, what I have left, are a darker brown. It’ll all work together…if it all comes back.

I lost more eyelashes yesterday. This time, it was from my top lash line of both eyes. The lashes came out as I took my makeup off. I told A it is what it is. He was wise enough not to say anything. Smart man.

I’m going to ask Dr. O about Latisse when I see her on Friday. I’m trying really hard not to let the lash thing bother me, but the fact is, it is bothering me. If I can do something to protect the lashes I have and get the ones I’ve lost back, safely, I’d like to do it. I know it’s vain, and in the great scheme of things, it shouldn’t matter. But, it does. My self esteem has recovered some since my self esteem meltdown after surgery. I’m not going to lie and say I feel awesome about myself, but I do feel better about myself. My hair coming back some has helped. My scars from surgery have healed, and while they aren’t what I wanted, they don’t look nearly as bad as they did a month ago. And, something for me to remember, these aren’t trying to kill me as my real ones were.


It may be vanity, but it’s not all vanity. It’s about me feeling like me…about having a small piece of who I was before the cancer crap happened. That’s important to me. I need to remember, I wasn’t always Cancer L, and right now, in the midst of endless doctors’ appointments and daily radiation treatments (today is treatment 5 of 28), I feel like Cancer L is all I am. That’s hard.

And, I have to get over it…right?


breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Bye Eyelashes…

My bottom eyelashes jumped ship today. It’s the strangest thing to me. I kept my eyelashes all through chemo, but now that I’m nearly two months post chemo, my eyelashes fall out. Really? My top eyelashes have thinned, too.

The pictures above were taken about a month and a half apart. I am three weeks out from my last chemo in the first one. The second one was taken today. I have on mascara in the one from today, but there are no bottom lashes for me to put mascara on like in the first picture, which I took at the end of January. My top lashes are noticeably thinner as well.

I read on a message board it’s not uncommon for eyelashes and eyebrows to fall out long after the last chemo, and that for some, it takes many months for the lashes and brows to come back. Some don’t ever get their lashes and brows back like they were before chemo.

That’s disheartening.

To be honest, I’m really annoyed my eyelashes have thinned and fallen out. I liked my lashes. I liked the way they framed my eyes. I don’t want to wear false eyelashes now. I bought some months ago, prepared for my lashes to fall out during chemo.  I don’t mind wearing false eyelashes. I’ve done it before on special occasions, but I don’t want to put them on every single day. That takes a dedication to getting ready in the mornings that I don’t have. I’m all about maximizing my sleep time and minimizing my hair and makeup time. Back when I still had my hair, if it took longer than twenty minutes for me to wash, dry, and style my hair as well as get dressed and put on a full face of make up, it took too long. Now, I’m spoiled. If it takes me longer than ten or fifteen minutes to get dressed, put on my make up, and put on a wig, rest assured, it took extra time because I either fought with my eyeliner, or I changed my wig a few times.

Since I wear glasses, it’s pretty unlikely most people will even notice I don’t have bottom lashes. I know it, though.

And that annoys me.

breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

I have no self esteem left

When my hair started falling out, I was devastated. Understand me, I HATED my hair. It was thin, brittle, but it was a pretty shade of medium golden brown. It brought out my eyes. I used to think one of the worst things that could happen to me would be going bald. My mom has thin hair. My great grandmother had thin hair. None of my grandfathers did…there’s no male pattern baldness in my family, but some of the women have thin hair. It seemed I was destined to be one. I didn’t know how much hair I had until it was gone. Losing it, little by little, was hard. Painfully hard. Physically, I felt my hair follicles dying. Emotionally, I felt my self esteem dying.

A family friend, a breast cancer survivor herself, gave me the name of a wig shop in Dallas and told me to go there. The girls at Mimi’s would hook me up with wig options, my family friend said, and they did. They’ve been wonderful to work with…even helped me when I called them in a panic because I couldn’t get my master’s grad cap over my wig. They told me to bring it in, and we’d figure it all out. They did figure it out. I’ve never questioned my “hair” from them. I know it looks natural. Heck, my students forget it’s fake because it looks so real. They don’t remember until I switch wigs on them. It helped my self esteem a little bit.

Then, my eyebrows began to jump ship. I’ve kept about half of them, but I had to become adept at creating eyebrows. I look stupid without them. I didn’t want to look stupid. So, I found an E.L.F eyebrow kit for brown eyebrows. Target had one around Christmas time. I bought it and played with it. I learned how to fake eyebrows…not as well as some of my students, but it was good enough for me. It helped my self esteem a little bit.

Then, I had surgery on Wednesday, the 3rd. It was supposed to be a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy with immediate DIEP flap reconstruction. It wasn’t. There is cancer in my lymph nodes. No reconstruction for me. I had a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy. I have four inch incisions where my nipples used to be that are held together by surgical glue and stitches. I have pieces of breast skin sticking out on what’s left of both breasts because there’s nowhere to fold it, and if I can do reconstruction, they’ll need the skin. My skin is puckered and bruised and numb and ravaged. My skin is ugly. What’s left of my breasts are ugly. I was supposed to wake up to new breasts the same size as my old ones and a flatter, tighter stomach and new belly button because all that skin was going to be my new breasts. I woke up with no breasts. I woke up with my same, stretch marked lined stomach. I woke up covered in bruises, in scars.

Just one bruise from the base of my thumb and runs the length down my arm nearly to my elbow.

I woke up to devastation, physical and emotional. I don’t know what stage my cancer is anymore. I don’t know what my chances of survival are anymore. I don’t know if I will grow old with A. I don’t know if I will see S and AJ grow up. I don’t know what’s going to happen. At all. I do know this, though: my self esteem is wrecked. I am wrecked. I am ugly. I am unattractive. I am Frankestein’s monster. I am no one’s dream woman. I am a breastless, hairless, wreck. I’ve never defined myself by my breasts. I know I am more than secondary sex characteristics. Intellectually, I know that. I was never embarrassed to “get” boobs or to have somewhat small ones. It was a part of growing up. My breasts were just there. I liked mine.

I don’t like what’s left. Because of Wednesday, I will never look like me again. I don’t see how I will ever like what I’m left with again. How do you like tissue expanders and horrible lined scars? How do you feel attractive again? Self esteem comes from within, sure, but there has to be a place for it to blossom.

I have no hope from which it can blossom. I look like my nightmare from the weekend I found out I had breast cancer. I sat on the floor in our master bathroom and sobbed that I would never feel attractive again. I would go through hell, and for what reason? And, despite my very best tries to avoid my current appearance, it happened.  I am breastless. I am hairless. I am unattractive. I will never be me again.

Oh sure, it’s just breasts, but when it’s breasts combined with hair combined with scars combined with bruises combined with fear combined with terror, it’s more. Cancer has taken my well-being. Cancer has taken my self-esteem, and in some ways, it feels as though cancer has taken me. And, the irony is…it very well might if the pathology reports come back with bad news, which why wouldn’t they? Everything else has. Nothing about this cancer coaster has gone the way anyone expected. Nothing. So, really, why should I expect any sort of good news come the pathology report? A little part of me that’s trying to be hopeful has been starting to hope that maybe, just maybe, the pathology report will show the cancer was only in the sentinels. Maybe, just maybe, it didn’t go to others, but really, why should I hope or expect the cancer to only be in those nodes. Why wouldn’t it be in more? Has it spread? Am I sitting here with my worst nightmare in my body? I’ve asked why me so many times since this started, and of course, there is no answer, but…why me? What did I do? Cancer really has taken everything from me…and likely, it’s going to take my life, too.