I was on social media and I came across this and it is so very true…
I’M NOT CONTAGIOUS, I HAVE CANCER
I heard those words “You have cancer”. I immediately got numb. It can’t be. Not me. Who do I tell? Who can help? Well we usually start with our best friends. They’ll understand. They’ll help and hold my hand through this. Of course I’ll tell family. They’ve known me all my live. They’ll understand what’s happening.
Now comes time for appointments with so many doctors. With a breast surgeon, an oncologist, a reconstruction surgeon, a radiologist and who knows how many more doctors. As more things are dumped on us it all becomes a blur. Scared and confused I call friends. Surly my friends will support me. The biggest appointment at the start of this journey is with the breast surgeon. It would be wonderful to have a friend hold my hand. I called one, then another and yet another. None of them are able to go with me. They have other things to do. Well, knowing I’ll be alone, I threw my shoulders back, held my head high and moved forward by myself. The surgeon told me that this beast called cancer was Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) add is the most aggressive breast cancer there is. Without its removal there’s a high probability of dying, but if you remove the tumor and do subsequent treatments your chances of living are increased. Now there are different procedures I had to consider. A lumpectomy, which is just the removal of the lump called a tumor, a single mastectomy, which removes the entire breast with the tumor or a double mastectomy, which removes both breasts so cancer can’t spread to the the uninvolved breast. Wow! That’s a tough decision to make alone. Where are you my friends? Why did you leave me alone? I’m not contagious, I have cancer. Well, I just sigh and go on to make the best decision I can.
Now comes the day of surgery. We’ve had time to research what will happen. We’ve watched YouTube videos about the procedure, which makes us more nervous. But, we at least know what’s going to happen. Where are you my friend. I just need you to hold my hand. I’m not contagious, I’ve got cancer.
The tumor is gone and in 24 hours I’m sent home. Being in pain and discomfort, we must fight on. We find a way to store the drains (which is what I lovingly called the torpedoes) so they’re not totally obvious, a port to make chemo easier to administer chemo and go on with our daily routine. I have to chuckle because yesterday I had breasts and today I have a large incision, no breasts, tubes, pain from the amputated body part, but we must fight on. I’m not contagious my friend, I have cancer.
Now for the really fun time. Time for chemo, which I affectionately called the drip. Three hours of sitting and having poison pumped into our veins. Where are you my friend? I need you my friend. I’m tired and weak and I need you. I’m not contagious, I have cancer.
As more chemo is pumped into our body we get weaker and weaker. We also start losing our hair, our beautiful beautiful hair. I lost everything that made me a woman. Again I cried, where are you my friend? I need you. I promise, I’m not contagious, I have cancer.
By now I feel so alone. Where have my friends gone. I really thought they would understand. I really thought they would support me, but they disappeared. I don’t understand, I’m not contagious, I have cancer.
By now I feel totally alone. I really wasn’t though. Through social media I find others going through the same things I was going through. I started to meet people. We share and discuss what we’re going through. But you know what? They are going , or have been going through the same things. Now we have someone to talk to. We share experiences and illnesses. We laugh, cry and mourn together. We’ve become sisters. I’ve even gotten the opportunity to meet some and hug them. They know we’re not contagious, we only have cancer.
Written by Claire Newby Comnick
The Sock Warrior