May I introduce you to…

“It is hard to look at the tumor and not come away with the feeling that one has encountered a powerful monster in its infancy”
~Siddhartha Mukherjee

I friend mentioned that she felt a certain disconnect to what is happening to me this time around so here is a brief update for her, for me, for the angustia inside. So, it has been one month since the first biopsy. Hmm – just realized that I had biopsies a month apart, that is crazy and will calendars never cease to amaze me with their power of recollection.

Anyway, I sit here today, with a purple right breast and my saga as a wounded Amazon continues. Except this time I am waiting to find out if there is a second mass of ye’ ol’ devil cancer in there. What has happened since I yelled cuss words at my fabulous doctor when the news was given? Well, let me tell ya…

I have seen WAY TOO MANY FUCKING DOCTORS. Some of them good, some not so much.

I sought three opinions, one of those was with a tumor board group. That was awesome, in part because it showed me that one of  the oncologists I was leaning towards made an error when we spoke. They misread my diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound report and sent me home after that first visit wondering all sorts of crazy, worrisome and untrue (at that time) shit.

I immediately got a horrible cold  (stress does that ya know, makes you sick) and wasn’t sleeping, and frankly looked like shit. The oncologist I ended up picking  ended up giving me an rx  for some meds to help me sleep. Thankfully I just needed one for that to change. They also ordered an MRI – which found something called a linear enhancement. This linear enhancement (enhancement of  what, I am still wondering) required another biopsy, which I had yesterday. No, this was not your regular biopsy, it was an MRI guided one. It was a process that must have been designed by men because it was fucking awful in so many ways. Today, my breast is a purple mess, and I can’t yet see the incision site. Today, there is a certain kind of peace though – testing is behind me – now it is about waiting for results. Results I should have by Monday.

I am trying to have a sense of humor about this, as such I have named my primary tumor Jane Mansfield. It is a dark humor kind of thing (I seem to recall that the real Jayne Mansfield was beheaded in a car accident, but it is also because I want to find the beautiful (and Jane was a beauty and no monster) in this insanity. Let me introduce you to Jane (I did this little project before I knew the name, fwiw, and there are several versions but Jane is now official) :

Jane (not Jayne) Mansfield


The other craziness is that all this has come down during a revisit with faith in my familiar “theistic-agnostic-I love Our Lady” form, and it was cool until last week. A friend asked me about who was providing me with pastoral care during this, and I didn’t know what to say.  As a deacon, I was part of pastoral care, you kinda know that people have to want it. I have, after all, told that god with a capital G to fuck off since my diagnosis. I don’t feel bad about doing that. But in terms of receiving care,  I also know I don’t want to pray, especially not with anyone else. I am unsure how to proceed on this front, it feels like something I should want or need… yet, I don’t…. but I am so totally unsure of how to proceed regarding receiving pastoral care. I don’t feel the community for it, so it doesn’t make much sense.

I still have not told my perfect spawn, but what is there to tell. I did talk to a child life specialist about how to handle this and got some reassurance that I was right in waiting to tell the news and how to handle the treatment phase (e.g. everything else).

So, that is where I am at. I have a personal photo journal of this experience, which I may share at some point… but I am really going to have to want to share the pictures of my bruised body and provide evidence of my bruised ego.


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