It has been six years since my last Chemotherapy Treatment. My name is Bobbi and I am a Breast Cancer Survivor. I was going through a divorce in 1999, and my children were very young, my son was 4 going on 5 and my daughter was 2 going on 3. I had begun dating a man while going through my divorce and only six months into the relationship, I had told him about my “third breast” I had started to develop. He encouraged me to have a mammogram, but at the time I was just too busy with raising my children and working, on top of trying to have an amicable divorce.
So, I waited to go and after a few times of joking about the third breast thing, he insisted that I go have it checked. I had already made an appointment for my arm to be checked out with my general practitioner, and just briefly mentioned the knot under my arm, the doctor asked if it was painful to which I replied “I would never have known it was there if I had not accidentally felt it while showering.”
So telling the doctor I was not particularly concerned with the knot as much as I was with the pain in my arm, he advised me that the knot would be our main concern and to basically get over the pain in my arm, because apparently he would be a pain in my butt, and make me have a mammogram. I have to tell you I was not happy about this, I was 31 years old and did not need a mammogram and certainly did not have time for one, (the nerve of this doctor). So off I went to have my breast squeezed like a lemon and have my self put in all sorts of awkward positions to get a good picture of the side of my boob.
It was two weeks later when the call came in that it was very suspicious of malignancy. Not me, no way did I have Breast Cancer, did not run in my family and I was the youngest of four sisters and I be danged if I was the one who was gonna go through this. I have two children that need me more than ever as well. So I prayed that some how or another this would leave my body and invade my older sister whom I despise. (Just Kidding) I adore her. Actually I decided that ok, I was the one who was suppose to go through this and I was gonna be strong for my family and kids. So when we were absolutely sure I would be doing Chemotherapy and radiation after my lumpectomy, I just told everyone hold on we are going for a ride..
I told the man I was dating that he was dismissed from the relationship and did not have to see me go thought this and be caught up in it, after all it was just six months of dating and not a whole lot of time or emotions invested, (I felt I would need a little dignity left when I lost my hair.) Well just like a man, he wanted to stay and get all the benefits with having a girlfriend with cancer, you know the perks like, going to the front of the line at Disney and other theme parks, and being able to help pick out wigs, long, short, blonde, red, (whatever flavor he felt for the day), by the way I still have those wigs for “date night.”
Anyway, I went in for a consultation with my oncologist, after I had done the lumpectomy and had healed from that. When I got there with my oldest sister, to my horror, he said we were gonna go ahead and start chemo that day. EEEEEk, I was not really ready like I tried to get my family to believe, I hate needles, I hate pain. But little did I know The pain would just begin.
It was like a dream, me walking back to the chemo lounge, when I got there I found myself thinking poor old people having to endure chemo treatments that must really suck for them, then I found an empty seat and as I was pitying the elderly, with a quick jerk of my head I came to reality, that nurse is gonna stick me and give me the juice to, all of a sudden I did not care about anyone else as a matter of fact half of them in there already had one foot in the grave and the other one on a banana peel, suddenly the world revolved around little ole me (or so I thought).
Well the nurse administered a whole bunch of Anti nausea medicine (which did not work) and then the “Red Devil Cocktail” I was told they call it that because it can make you real sick, Yea it did, I was dry heaving before my first session was complete. Oh joy and rapture how many more of these do I get? Well my mom would come and sit with me for a week and that is all I would allow myself to be sick on the fifth day I would make myself get up and move around, the chemo would make me vomit for five days and I could not get up only to get sick, it was absolutely horrible, I would not tell people that chemo is not so bad, that all depends on the person, and this person was sick as a dog.
I was a good girl and went like a hero every two weeks for six weeks and endured my “chemo cocktail” and come back home and get sick for five more days and on and on. In between these visits there were a couple of rehydrating visits because I could not keep anything down. I remember one such visit, I had gone in and sat next to an older gentlemen, (by the way I was bald now), anyway he was eyeballing me and I him, and he said to me “You’re an awful young man to be sitting in an office like this.” and I said to him “Yep, sure am I reckon, but I am a girl not a boy.” He just laughed and I laughed with him and wished him the best of luck.
I had gotten to the point of not wearing wigs and only a ball cap, those dang wigs are hot and they frizz really bad during the summer months, so I only wore them on special occasions. I would go through the toll booths and pay my change and the attendant would say thank you sir, I would just laugh, (I should have flashed them my breast, that would of given em something to talk about).
So, anyway this letter is dragging out and you are probably bored beyond belief if you even were able to read this far down without deleting it. I finished my chemo treatments of the really bad drug and went on to another chemo that did not make you sick, but instead it would travel and bring pain to your joints, but hey I would have drank that straight from the jug verses doing more of that other stuff.
So when I completed that I did my radiation which was a walk in the park, my daughter would come and have chemo sessions with me. She would sit on my lap and wait patiently, and once we were doing radiation she and her brother would sit with the nurses and watch me on a monitor while I was being zapped. To this day my daughter says they had the best cookies in that office.
It was a very humbling experience, losing your hair and half your breast. But you know the way I see it is, I was quite the hellian when I was younger, and put my mom through a whole lot, so perhaps after my life’s journey, I will make it to heaven for I feel I certainly have paid for my sins while going through the chemo. Who knows, but I have completed my five years of Tamoxifen and by the grace of God have a beautiful 10 month old son, along with a gorgeous 10 year old daughter (Whom looks just like me) and a very handsome 12 year old son, and a hunk a hunk of burning love Husband who without him I am not sure if I would even be here. I hope you have enjoyed my letter and send me my free pin dangit.