This is going to be the hardest post I've ever written. But first, I am so sorry for neglecting you for so long. I feel terrible about it. It has been quite a ride since the last post. I was mostly preoccupied with Artistcellar. We decided that we didn't want to wait until the new year to launch our new stencil line. And so we went full speed ahead through the ordering of supplies, designing graphics, making art for the inserts, manufacturing, and then packaging thousands of stencils. Whew. All without telling anyone what's going on.
The launch on October 28th went well. People loved the stencils. We got a lot of positive feedback. We were drunk on the excitement and dreaming of future possibilities. Life was good. A few days later I got a phone call from my doctor.
"You have breast cancer."
Four little words. Never in my life did I imagine that I would hear those four little words said to ME. I've never smoked or did drugs. I don't drink alcohol. I eat good foods, and drink organic milk and filtered water. I'm healthy dammit! And then this? I have never been so mixed up emotionally. Along with the excitement of our stencil debut, I am angry, sad, scared, depressed, anxious and full of self pity. And tired. So mentally tired. Already.
Where am I going to get the energy to kick this cancer's ass? I need a superhero costume...
My whole life has changed in a heartbeat. Some things just don't matter anymore. My family matters more than ever. My friends matter. As more people find out about my diagnosis, more love pours forth. I am amazed by the outpouring of support and prayers. The small stuff? Not sweating it.
I feel like I have stepped out of my life's story, out of my book, and right into the middle of a new story, written in a foreign language. I'm lost. The door has closed behind me and locked me in this new world and I can't get back. It sucks. Like a bad episode of "Twilight Zone".
It's not fair.
This Friday, December 2nd, I will have surgery. A lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. My cancer is a Stage IIa, Grade 3, ER/PR+ and HER2+ (still learning the language...) In English, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, 2.5cm tumor, aggressive. After I heal from surgery I will start Chemotherapy for 3 months, then radiation therapy for 6 weeks. Targeted therapy for the HER2+ factor every 3 weeks for a year. Then hormone therapy for 5 years. (The worst drug I've ever taken? Tylenol 3. I promptly vomited. My body doesn't like drugs.)
I already feel like I am losing myself. Who I am. I don't know anymore... this isn't me. I want my old boring life back.
Dear Blog, I don't want to turn you into a "Cancer Blog" but I will occasionally write about my journey into the dark winter months ahead. I hope this doesn't bother anyone. I try to journal but I find myself gravitating towards the keyboard rather than a pen and paper. I am attempting to make art to help sort myself out but so far I just want to tear up pages and stomp on them. I'll get there.
Goals: Get as healthy as I can before Chemo. Try to maintain a healthy mind and body during treatments. Collect some really kick-ass hats. Focus on Artistcellar because it may be the only thing that gets me through the day. Put on my warrior costume and fight like a girl.
And B R E A T H E