Thursday, April 09, 2015

This Is My April

We are in April.

April is a weird month for me. I'm positive I talked about it before, but April is my cancer month.

April 1 is when I went to the doctor - for a yearly check-up. Blissfully unaware anything was going on. April 1 is when the doctor told me I should really meet with a breast specialist and get a mammogram in the next 6ish or so months. She didn't think anything was going on, but with the family history she was going to be super cautious with me.

April 11 is when I met with the breast specialist. The appointment that was just supposed to be a one time thing, to get some guidance on how to proceed from that point forward. The appointment started light-hearted. The doctor told me I had a greater chance of hitting a moose with my car than having breast cancer. She had recently moved from New Hampshire to Chicago. We laughed that she needed a new analogy. Then came the exam. Then the questions. That's when I knew. A doctor doesn't ask you about a  million questions during an exam unless there's something there. And that's when she said I needed a mammogram. By the end of the week. April 11 was a Monday.

April 14 is when I had my mammogram. April 14 is when they took extra pictures. Then a few more. Then gave me an ultrasound. April 14 is when, during the ultrasound the technician excused herself to get the doctor. That's when the doctor walked in and did some of the ultrasound himself. April 14 is when they put me in a room and told me to wait. The doctor would talk to me soon. He came in. He told me I should get a biopsy. Unless I really didn't want one. They thought I could delay it and have a second mammogram in 6 months. Even still, he walked me to the biopsy room, told me the procedure. He told me if he was me he wasn't sure if he'd wait or do the biopsy now because I was young and they were probably just seeing calcifications. But I had that pesky family history.

April 21 is when I had my biopsy. When my doctor saw the mammogram/ultrasound reports she said there was no way I should wait 6 months. She said we needed a biopsy ASAP. And Thursday, April 21 was the soonest they could do it. We had to do it at a different hospital than the mammogram. Time seemed precious and there wasn't a moment a spare. I went to the biopsy. By myself {side note: what the hell were we thinking ... don't get a biopsy alone. Just don't}. April 21 is when, during the biopsy, the local anesthesia they used wore off and I literally screamed out in pain. April 21 is when, laying on the table, with my breast hanging down a hole in the table, with the breast between two plates (think mammogram), I was crying. That's when a nurse rubbed my forehead and held my hand and told me to squeeze her hand as hard as I needed to to get through it. April 21 is when, after we were finally finished and stood up, I was a pale as a sheet, that the nursing staff got me in a chair asap, worried I'd pass out. That's when they realized I had no one to drive me home. I was shivering, pale, and shaking. They quickly covered me in warm blankets, brought me juice (that I couldn't even drink at first) and sat with me. April 21 is when I finally calmed down and drove myself home. I was supposed to pick my kids up - they were with my mom and I just couldn't face anyone at that moment. I went to the car and called my husband and started bawling. He talked to me until I calmed down. He didn't want my driving like that. He told me to go home, and go to bed, and he'd get the kids.

April 26 is the day the doctor called and told me that the biopsy came back and I had breast cancer. April 26 is the day she said she was sorry and she had hoped it wouldn't turn out that way. April 26 is when I didn't even listen to half of what she said. I doodled on a paper. At some point, she asked if I had any questions. All I could think of? I asked if I'd lose my hair. She said most likely I'd need chemo and that I would. I wrote on the doodled paper: breast cancer. maybe chemo. hair. April 26 is when she told me she wanted me to come in the next day, before hours - it was the only time she could get me in and she wanted to talk to me in person. April 26 is the day I tried to call my husband at work, but he couldn't get the phone. I think I tried a dozen times and he wasn't answering. I mis-dialed about as many times as well. April 26 is when I went into my bathroom, laid down on the cold tile and just cried. April 26 is when I called my mom to tell her I had cancer. April 26 is when my husband called back, already knowing, because of how many times I tried to get a hold of him. April 26 is when I told my kids that I had cancer. It's when my oldest asked me if she would get it too. And my middle child asked me if I would die. And my little guy, my sweet baby, asked me if he could go play the Wii now. April 26 is when my gynecologist called and told me she was sorry - that she hadn't seen this coming because if she had, she would have talked to me about it way back on April 1. It's the day I made a lot of phone calls and had to tell people I had cancer. It's also the day I couldn't make any more phone calls and asked others to please tell family and friends for me because I just couldn't do one. more. call.

April 27 is when I met with the doctor. When I tried really hard to listen, and just couldn't. The room was buzzing. Actually my head was buzzing. April 27 is when the doctor felt my armpits and could feel some swelling. April 27 is when I had another ultrasound of my armpits. And another biopsy. April 27 is when the doctor told me we couldn't be sure until the biopsy came back, but that she felt I had cancer in my lymph nodes. April 27 is the day I thought I would die because the cancer had already spread and I didn't know what that would mean. {side note: it didn't mean as much as I thought it would thankfully}. April 27 is when I asked my mom to drive me to a knitting shop. And I asked the woman at the counter to show me really soft hat yarn because I had cancer and would be bald soon so I should start knitting. April 27 is when that woman, without missing a beat, said oh yes, I know just the yarn for you. And she took me too it, patted my hand and told me she hoped it turned out okay.

This is April. This is what my April is. 26 days. 26 days from just a regular annual check-up to you have cancer. 26 days. It's not that long. It felt like a lifetime.

While I know the April of 2015 is not the same as April 2011, it's still a hard month for me. I know I won't be getting mammograms or biopsies or having to hear you have cancer again this month, somehow every April so far has felt like I am back to that April.

It's a hard month for me emotionally.

If you see me, if I look down or sad or tired or exhausted, know that I am. Because this is my April.


  1. Gorgeously, bravely, beautifully written.

  2. What a hard story to read, but how much it needs to be read, and how glad I am you're here to tell it.

  3. How brave of you to share this story. God bless you on your journey....I see you as whole

  4. How brave of you to share this story. God bless you on your journey....I see you as whole


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)