I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. My tumour is ER+, PR+, HER2-.
My timeline goes like this:
November 14, 2016 – found a lump, went to family physician
November 23, 2016 – mammogram
December 13, 2016 – ultrasound
January 31, 2017 – two biopsies
February 6, 2017 – diagnosis – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
February 21, 2017 – surgery (partial mastectomy, biopsy, sentinel nodes removed)
March 8, 2017 – pathology back – lymph nodes clean, other biopsy benign, tumour removed with clean margins (Hurrah! This means the cancer hasn’t spread and no more surgery for now).
April 4, 2017 – treatment plan set. Radiation and hormone therapy only – no chemotherapy. Started Tamoxifen.
April 18, 2017 – meeting with radiation oncologist
May 2, 2017 – CT Scan to determine radiation schedule
May 12 – June 9 – 20 bouts of radiation treatment
Writing helps me process this train wreck. Here’s what I’ve written so far. The oldest essay is listed first:
The Grace Period – the long and winding road to diagnosis
The Cancermoon – waiting for surgery
Number 51 – the patient experience + breast cancer surgery
Neck Deep in Cliche – consider this your sign to go and do all those things you’ve wanted to do
Breathe Darling – the wisdom of those other wonderful women offering peer support
Birds Art Life – finding inspiration in books
Tommy the Cancer Cat – looking for small comforts
It Is What It Is – searching for why
The Way the Lady Luck Dances – my treatment plan
How the Little Stuff is the Big Stuff – talking about my experiences with physicians
Learning to Breathe Again – my attempts at relaxing
My Monkey Brain – the mental health side of cancer
Susan Gets Radiated – my first awful radiation treatment
Just Show Up – halfway through radiation
Where’s My Freaking Silver Lining – dabbling in just breathing again
I am a Patient and I have had an Experience – what if patient ‘complaints’ are just constructive feedback for hospitals to improve?
An Open Letter to Radiation Therapists – the letter I shared with my Radiation Therapists on my last day of treatment
A Letter to Pre-Cancer Me – I seem to be writing letters in an attempt to get un-stuck.