Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#6 in a series)
After surviving the initial tests, the diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer, and the beginnings of an action plan, Jim and I found ourselves in a holding pattern. As incongruous as it sounds, time was standing still and moving at lightening speed.
Acknowledging the Worst Case Scenario, Working Toward the Best
Having spent many years working in a funeral home, death is not a taboo subject for me. Death knows no rules about age or fairness, and it is a part of life that should not be ignored.
As we went about the details of planning for surgery, recovery, and continued treatment, we also considered the worst case scenario — not in a maudlin or overly fearful way, but for practical purposes. We would hope for, and work toward the most favorable outcome and a long life; we also acknowledged another possibility. I wanted my affairs in order; I wanted my wishes known; I felt better for having done so.
Our conversations about death did us a world of good. Because there was no pretense that the possibility didn’t exist, we were able to get to the real task at hand — living. My husband and I are positive people, and we are nothing if not warriors. We are realistic optimists, and that has always served us well.
Family and Friends Rally ‘Round
As word of my health status circulated, kindness began pouring in. Family from across the miles hit the road in order to spend time with us before surgery. We laughed and hugged, celebrating life and each other. Spirits were high, the weekend as cathartic for them as it was for me.
Friends and acquaintances, even those who were at a loss for words, sent good wishes and prayers. I assure you, the simple kindnesses go a long way.
The weight of all this on a spouse is enormous. It was probably harder to be in his shoes than in my own. He would love me no matter what, this I knew, and my many blessings made it impossible to feel sorry for myself.
Next: Sometimes Good News is Just Not Worse News / Who Gets Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?