On March 12th, 2013, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. That, I can honestly say, was one of the worst days of my life. In an instant, your life flashes before you, and things will never be the same, ever. I am a wife, a mother, a business owner, a sister, a daughter and a friend. Your everyday American woman, who thought she could do it all, well almost. I definitely tried to!
I was in shock. How could this happen to me???? I ate well, exercised, did yoga, drank socially, didn’t smoke and was an overall very positive person. It didn’t make sense. At all. Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Sometimes bad things happened to good people. How could that be??
I guess my take away from that is that bad things can happen to good people. And at the end of the day, its how you react to the event that will get you through it, or not. In the past when life handed me lemons, I would make lemonade, or vodka tonics!
The call from my Doctor that day, left me gasping for breath, Lemonade and Vodka tonics were the furthest things from my mind. Being alive to watch my children grow up was what became top of mind, more than anything else. At this point, all I heard was CANCER, I didn’t know anything else. My will to live kicked in, as I cried with my mom and sister on the phone that day, and later in my husband’s arms that afternoon, and again later in the surgeon’s office when we went to meet with her that evening.
How on earth could this be happening to me??? What could I have done to have caused this?? What should I have done differently to have prevented this??? All questions, that we will never really know the answers to, but they are questions that I still have to push out of my head every once in a while as they creep in.
I’ll take a pause here – and take you back to the beginning of my BC (breast cancer) Journey. So make yourself a soothing green tea, or pour yourself a nice glass of red wine and please join me on my journey. If I can inspire you, make you laugh or cry (a good cry), make you appreciate your life more or touch your heart in any way – I will have done what I came here to do.
On February 14th, 2013, the day before we left for our family Winter Break ski vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado, I went in for my annual mammogram. Well, it was supposed to be my annual, but I had put it off for six months because I had just launched a new business and was traveling all over the country for client work, and meetings with my business partner in Chicago. A mammogram was the last thing that I wanted to do that day (or any day for that matter), I had to get everyone packed for our trip, make sure my clients were happy and also try to fit in a little Valentines Day celebration before we left the following day……but I went, I had put it off for far too long. And Friday, February 16th, we set off for Colorado to teach our youngest, Christopher (3) to ski! We called it Operation C Ski!
During our ski vacation, I got a call from my OB/GYN’s office saying they found something questionable on my mammogram and that I needed to schedule an appointment for another look as soon as I got back to New York. I gulped down my slight sense of panic, made the appointment and vowed to enjoy the rest of our vacation. Mission accomplished, Operation C Ski was a success! Christopher loved it and he did really well, he was a natural, like his Dad and siblings, Samantha and Connor.
I returned to the Doctor’s office at Westchester Medical Group after we got home for my next test. No worries, I kept saying to myself. I had friends and a sister who had had to go through this before and it always ended up being fine. I had been getting mammograms since I was 35 years old, my Mother had BC when I was growing up. She is now a sassy, spunky senior citizen – going strong at the age of….shhhhh, I’m not allowed to tell you, but she’s alive and well, many years later. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, I took good care of myself, what could possibly go wrong?
When the Doctor called me back and said they wanted me to have a consultation with a surgeon, I still pushed down the creeping panic and tried not to worry. My husband, Dan and I took the morning off of work and went to meet with the surgeon on March 6th we had no idea that she was going to do a biopsy right there that day. Ok, here we go! Thank you Dr Lynn Josephson, over and over, for your incredible expertise, intuition and cool personality. You were calming and wonderful every step of the way.
On March 7th, when Dr J called with the results, she said I have good news and bad news. The good news was that the pathology report had come back benign. The bad news was that Dr J didn’t trust the results, she said they didn’t match up with the pictures. Whether it was intuition, or her 30 years of experience, I trusted her. We scheduled a lumpectomy for the following week to remove the “suspicious shadow” in my right breast. March 11th, 2013. A lot was happening really fast, and there was no way for me to slow it down. Buckle up, here we go.