the dirty thirty

Well, here goes. The start of this blog. I think it will therapeutic over this lovely adventure and I can give updates to my lovely supporters. 

First off I would like to apologize to my sweet and amazing business partner, for the pain I will be putting you through.....I'm talking about the grammatical errors in this blog. (yeah about leaving her for a month or two as well) Seriously though, this is a judge free zone with no rules...I've got enough cancer rules right now...grammar rules are not as high on my list. But obviously creating a logo for the blog was high up. I mean priorities. 

Back to basics...

Truth is I was nervous about turning the big dirty thirty, for reasons that had to do with everyone else's 29.999 struggle. I'm no longer my youthful 20 something self. Have I accomplished what I wanted to by 30? Am I satisfied with myself at 30? You set your life goals and we all have a vision of who you are at 30. At my official 30th birthday I came to decision that I was finally pretty pumped about where I was. I have run a successful business for 5+ years, my work and name had been published in national magazines, I live in a pretty awesome town and I'm surrounded by amazing family and friends. I just had an amazing birthday celebration surrounded by close to 100 Cville friends dancing the night away at a silent disco party. I'm pretty lucky I thought. 

Until 3 weeks after that amazing dance party, I was talking to a close friend and discussing her experience with breast cancer. She was diagnosed at age 27, pretty early and treatable and had a bilateral mastectomy.  I have always been fascinated by her experience and her courage and strength when she talked about it. My background with breast cancer isn't as peachy. I grew up in hospitals watching my grandmother give an amazing fight against it for 13 years. Just 2 years ago, I sat by my best friend's side as she had to say goodbye to her mother after her tough battle with it. Plus the multiple family members it has affected.  I know the struggle is real. So the fact that she was super upbeat about her experience now, gave me hope but also for some reason made me a little curious that night...

I went home that night and felt my boobies, realizing that I hadn't in awhile since I had traveled so much this year. (I'm usually really good about this). And well lookie here. A damn lump. I definitely thought it was suspect. 

I proceeded to do my weekend activities and not tell anyone. I called up my lovely lady doc to schedule my annual that I was due, thinking I could squeeze this issue in...oh, my doctor is going to Australia for 2 months, oh, okay I'll schedule it then. Hung up. Got a little nervous, maybe I should call back and go earlier. Then my mom called...she was heading to Richmond to get her mammogram. She sees a specialist and has been checking since 30. Then my business partner emails me to look over this flyer for our 10% Tuesday Flyer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I think I said outloud - "Okay Grandma Tunnie, I get your signs, I'll call back!". 

(What is 10% Tuesdays - this year Heather and I chose 3 causes special to us and we decided to give 10% of the profits of each Tuesday of that month toward that cause. April was Parkinson's in honor of my dad who currently battles it. And November will be for Pancreatic cancer which Heather's dad had just lost his battle to it in March.)

What I felt good about the next few appointments, were that nobody seemed to put me in the corner and tell me to wait. I've heard horror stories of women being told to wait and then they say oh your so young, it isn't anything. Good thing I had a pocket full of history to shut that down. 

I remember sitting in the ultrasound room after she had taken a few snaps of it. She ran out to show the doctor to see if he wanted more tests. As I wait, I stared the thing down. As the image repeated itself on the ultrasound screen, the black claw looked so ominous, I think I knew then and there what it was. But I remained calm. Proceeded to the Mammogram and then rushed to see a Breast Surgeon who was delayed from surgery. As he was about to give me a biopsy right then and there, I was like ummm I am hosting a bachelorette party with 12 people this weekend that consists of floating down the dirty James and a Paint Ball Fight. After his confusion that girls wanted to play paint ball - we pushed back the biopsy until Tuesday am (Monday was Labor Day). And I proceeded to host a kick ass bachelorette party and not telling a soul...there would be random moments where I would hear my doctor say "This is worrisome". I could see it in all their eyes. I knew, which is why I probably didn't tell anyone, I didn't want to worry other people until it was definitely solid and I did just want one more awesome weekend Cancer Free. 

The day after the biopsy my doctor calls, he says are you in a place to talk - ugh I knew it. So I go to a glamorous ally way behind my store hunched in a corner reading a sign "COMICS+ART" from across the street as he tells me that I have Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I remember my whole body was shaking. I usually have a good grip on my emotions, but my body was reacting before my brain really had. I snapped a photo of that exact spot. In that exact spot, my life as I knew it really had just changed forever. (enter super dramatic music)