Four years ago today, I was (officially) diagnosed with breast cancer. Happy Cancerversary to me! I’m still kicking ass and grabing life by the balls four years later, and I intend to do so for many more.
Today is my cancerversary. I’ve been kicking cancer’s ass for three years now, and hopefully for many more to come.
Today I got a hug from a colleague and fellow breast cancer survivor during court. She said her daughter saw my pic online and called to ask if that is what she went through during her radiation treatment. When she said yes, the daughter cried and apologized for not being more aware of what her mother had experienced. My colleague, as she was hugging me, started to cry, and said, “Thank you so much, Jenn. They finally have an idea of what we go through. You are so brave.”
I almost lost my shit.
This alone has made the entire experience worthwhile.
I deleted that ask/message from that girl telling me she didn’t want to see my breast cancer pic and that I was being a bitch about the entire thing. The overwhelming response to that picture has been positive. Even though she needs to learn that her words have consequences, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving that exchange up. Yes, she pissed me off, but she’s scared. I know how that feels. We do stupid things when we get scared.
I’ve had at least one hundred messages today from people telling me that I have changed the way they look at breast cancer and cancer awareness in general. Holy shit, you guys. I never ever expected this response.
Here’s your fucking breast cancer awareness.
This was during my 35 day radiation treatment back in 2013. Breast cancer isn’t sexy. It’s not about saving the boobies. It’s not about no bra day, which is really just an excuse for women to post sexy pics of their nipples pressing through their clothes. It’s scars, nausea, pain, bald heads, burnt skin, and broken hearts.
If this doesn’t make you “aware” then I don’t know what will.
Does it make you uncomfortable? It should.
- Sometimes Tumblr gives me serious boob envy.
- Speaking of boobs, breast cancer awareness month is just around the corner, and I’m hoping I’ll feel less angst-y about it this year since I’m in a pretty good head space right now.
- However, I do want to say: no woman who has had her tits cut off wants to see you flashing your perfect pair around the internet in the name of breast cancer awareness. Bitch, please.
- I have, however, considered posting a pic of my own fake, nipple-less boobs to promote breast cancer awareness. My tit tats are pretty fucking sweet to be honest.
- But…sometimes I really miss having nipples.
- I refer to my boobs as tempur-pedic tits because they are sort of like memory foam. They always bounce back and they are definitely never sagging.
- Luckily, my boyfriend is an ass/legs guy, which are by far my best body parts and always have been.
On this day, two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. Stage IIb.
On this day, two years ago, I collapsed on the floor of my office and cried. I was certain I had received a death sentence.
On this day, two years ago, I faced the knowledge that I would lose my breasts. That I would lose my hair due to chemo treatments. I faced the reality that, like so many of us, I always chose to ignore: that I am mortal and that someday I will die, and that the moment of my death might be much sooner than I ever expected.
It would be really easy for me to fall into a depression today. I could sit here and relive every agony I faced during those early days of being a cancer patient, and the ones I continue to face even now. I could cry and mourn the girl I used to be; the one I left behind.
Instead, I will celebrate the gift of my life. Because it is a gift. A tremendous gift. One for which I am very thankful. Sometimes I miss the girl I used to be, but I think the woman I have become is pretty fucking fantastic, and though it hurts a little to admit it, that is at least in part due to having endured breast cancer.
So here’s to living. Happy Cancerversary to me!
I had a good and productive appointment with my oncologist this afternoon. I don’t have to go back for six months, which feels like a long time. It’s almost scary to me to go that long without seeing him. What if something changes and we don’t catch it in time? What if my cancer comes back? What if…what if?
October has been somewhat difficult with all of the breast cancer awareness stuff in my face every single day. People wear pink for breast cancer awareness. People post stupid memes about it. People do 5k breast cancer walks. Women take off their bras on “No Bra Day." Ultimately, however, the problem is not awareness. Fucking everyone knows about breast cancer. How could you not when there is a pink ribbon nearly everywhere you look? The problem is that despite all the hype there is still no cure, and a lot of the money that should be going to researching the cure is actually just ending up in some big wig’s bank account. Money is poured into curing breast cancer and yet there is no cure in sight.
November 1st people will go on with their lives and jump onto the next bandwagon: heart disease, MS, ALS, or whatever else (which is not to say those causes are not just as important). But me and all the other survivors…we can’t forget. We can’t walk away. We live with this every single day. We bear the scars. We swallow the pills to prevent recurrence. We fight the fatigue. We live with the uncomfortable fake breasts or without breasts at all, the body image problems, and the never ending fear of recurrence. We pay the never ending pile of medical bills. We put on a brave face for our friends and family. We cry when you aren’t looking. And we are the lucky ones, because we are still here to do all of that.
Are you aware yet?