I’m still not sure if this was really brave or really stupid, but whatever the case, I decided to write a series of personal essays about my battle with breast cancer for Today/MSNBC.com. The first, “Mastectomy and the Single Girl,” went live today. Here’s how it starts:
Most people cry and cuss and rage at the universe when they’re first diagnosed with breast cancer.
Me? I scheduled a pin-up shoot.
Not that I didn’t do all of that other stuff, too, along with cracking bad jokes and mocking any and all medical personnel within spitting distance.
When the radiologist — aka Dr. Debbie Downer — came into that small dark room to tell me that the ultrasound had found three masses in my two breasts, I cried and raged plenty. I also told her I couldn’t have cancer because I was health writer, as if knowledge comes with a protective shield.
But just like the other 230,000 plus women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. every year, I had no shield. What I had instead was a needle biopsy, which confirmed that the masses were all positive for invasive lobular carcinoma, a “sneaky” cancer seldom found in the early stages because it doesn’t create a lump.
One of the tumors had caused a tuck, though, a small dent under my left nipple. That dent — and the fact that I had checked it out — undoubtedly saved my life.
My next essay, “Love in the Time of Chemotherapy,” will come out next week (I’ll post another link when it goes live). As always, folks, I look forward to your thoughts on the piece.
Unless your name happens to be “SueinTX“. Sheesh lady, lighten up. I got cancer here! ; )