I woke up the next day and wished it had all been in bad dream. It wasn’t, I was bruised, I was hurting, and I was waiting to find out if I had breast cancer. How would I make it through these next days? Work. I needed to work.
I hopped on my first meeting of the day and everyone expressed there concern. I blew it off as it was probably nothing and pretended like the day prior wasn’t living hell. I didn’t want to seem weak. I never want to seem weak. Stay strong, walk it off, it’s no big deal.
I made it through my day and it was time for some unwinding. My boyfriend and I put on one of our favorites, Shameless. It was a good distraction until the story line was all of a sudden about a woman dying of breast cancer. He quickly turned it off and said we weren’t going to be watching that again. I was mad. It’s like the train wreck that you can’t look away from and I needed to keep watching. It definitely hit a nerve for him though and truth be told, it hit mine as well.
The next day was weird. Maybe it was a defensive mechanism but I stopped panicking. I stopped thinking about it. I worked and somehow convinced myself that I was fine. It wasn’t until that evening when I had an ultimate breakdown. More tears. I called my mother and went on about how upset I was that I had a titanium marker in my breast from the biopsy. It was foreign and I wanted it out. But truth be told, what I really wanted out was that suspicious mass that they had sucked pieces out of me to biopsy. What I really wanted was to wake up from this nightmare and not be waiting to find out if I had cancer. I cried, and screamed, and cried. I was the most scared I have ever been in my life thus far.
The next day was a Friday. My boyfriend was leaving for Miami that night to visit friends for the Superbowl. He said he would stay home since I was so upset but I told him not to be ridiculous and I insisted that he still went. I had offered to watch my nieces that weekend so I knew I would be preoccupied anyway. I was going about my day when I realized my steri-strip was hanging off and my open wound was exposed. I looked at my extremely bruised, massacred breast and started to panic. I called the hospital to let them know and they asked me to come in. I panicked even more, I didn’t want to end up with a scar since the stitches got messed up. I called my boyfriend to let him know I was going in and said he was on his way and would meet me there.
I got settled into a room and the sweet nurse from the day of the biopsy came in. Pam. I will never forget her name. She fixed me up and then proceeded to tell me that my biopsy results were in. She said to sit tight and the doctor would be right in to talk to me. I felt like I was going to faint. I couldn’t imagine what she was about to come in and say to me. I thought, this is it. This is where I get the news.
The doctor from the biopsy came in. She was sweet, she was smiling, she had my fate in her hands. She looked at me, asked me to sit down and with an assuring smile. She said, “Janine, great news! It’s benign!!” What? I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to smile, I wanted to scream with joy, but I couldn’t react. I was sure that I was dying. This was good news though, so why couldn’t I smile? I said, are you sure? And she said, “yes, you are all clear, these things happen, we will see you when you are 40!” I looked at her and said, “40? Don’t you want to see me for some follow-up within these next 10 years? I mean after all you just put me through, should I be worried in the slightest for another incident?” She smiled again and said to go celebrate, because everything was OK and that it was not cancer.
I got dressed, walked downstairs and got into my boyfriends car. I was silent. I was confused, and I looked over at him and said, “it’s benign.” He looked so relieved. He looked so happy. Why couldn’t I be happy? Something just did not feel right.
I kissed him goodbye and was off to my parents. I didn’t call them, I figured I would tell them the good news in person. I walked in the door and I couldn’t get the words out. It’s like when you have to tell someone something but you don’t really believe it yourself so you feel weird saying it. I thought maybe this is normal? Maybe I am just in shock from everything I went through with the waiting and the biopsy and it was all just a mind fuck. I mean obviously I wanted to believe it. I wanted to be relieved but I just was uneasy. I walked in the kitchen and said, “well it’s benign.” My parents started to tear up, they were so relieved. My Dad went down to the wine cellar and brought up a few bottles of really good wine and said we should go out to dinner to celebrate. My whole family came to dinner, we went to our favorite Italian BYOB in town. We toasted, we celebrated, and maybe it was all the wine fogging my head but I started to feel relieved.
The next day I went to my sister’s to stay and watch my three little nieces. I noticed how much pain I was in when the little one kept wanting to sit on my lap and have me hold her. I was feeling super mushy. We were getting ready for bed when I went in the bathroom and removed my bandages. FUCK. My GG breast was completely black and blue. It didn’t seem normal. Oh no, here it comes. I started to cry. I couldn’t control it. My 4 year old niece must have heard me and came into the bathroom. She looked scared and concerned. I told her Aunt Janine had a boo-boo but I was ok now. It made me more upset. Snap out of it Janine.
The next day was Superbowl Sunday. My family were never big Superbowl people, or football for that matter but we did our Italian version of Superbowl Sunday accompanied by a massive Italian feast which is really just any usual Sunday at the house. We sat around and talked about how relieved we were that everything panned out the way it did. Everyone expressed how scared they were but we could all admit that now knowing that everything was ok. I looked around and allowed myself to feel happy. I forsook my worries and began to feel grateful. I had nothing left to fear, right?
Looking back I get nauseous. I went to bed that night not realizing that the next day was going to change my life as I knew it and I had absolutely no fucking idea what I was in for.