An Explanation for the Silence

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I am taking a hiatus at least until the weekend, but I do want to say some things first. I'm not sure why I feel a need to, but I do, and I don't think I'll be at peace until I put these thoughts into something outside of my head.

After the surgery, the surgeon told The Fiance and Aunt Helpful that she was 99% sure that everything was normal. We knew that I had fibrocystic issues (that's what came up on the original biopsy 1 1/2 years ago), so when I heard her confidence, I assumed the best. I was still nervous because, well, it's scary to have your tissue sent to a pathologist for any reason. I knew that 1% chance was not the same as 0% chance, but honestly, I was confident that I would be fine.

I also had considered the options. I knew that there was that 1% chance that I had breast cancer, which would've, in a word, blown. And then there was the other 99%, which had benign written all over it. I had not, for one instant, considered that there might be something between completely benign and malignant. It just didn't really occur to me. So when my surgeon told me, at 24 years old, that I was going to have to be evaluated every 6 months for the rest of my life for breast cancer, I did not feel relief. I did not feel overjoyed to be cancer-free, I felt betrayed. I felt like reality bitch-slapped me.

At 24 years old, I have been told that for the rest of my life, I'll have to worry about this. My surgeon went as far as to say that the only way to avoid it would be to remove my entire breast. At 24 years old, this is a big fucking deal. It is. I'm sorry. It's not cancer, and I am thrilled about that, but my life doesn't just resume as normal. It doesn't stop either, in fact, that might be easier. I have to go back to my normal life with the understanding that I am not normal. That another part of my body has, or very likely will, fail me.

I am upset about what this means. I'm upset that I have to have this worry in my life now. I'm upset because it does change things for me. I won't be able to ignore any little lumps or bumps, I won't be able to go more than 6 months of my life without this reality re-entering my mind. I have not fit into the mold of "normal" for a long time, but there's something really deeply troubling and personal about having your breasts fail you. It's as if my very woman-hood is being questioned.

A few of you have sent me emails imploring me to seek perspective to realize that this is not the end of the world. Fuck your perspective. I know that this is not the end of the world. I know that this is not the end of my life or my happiness or my health. I know this wasn't the worst case scenario. I know that it is fantastic that I do not have cancer. But I also know that it sucks to be told that I am abnormal. You can't take that back. Tissue was removed from my body that was on track to be something really abnormal. My body is doing things it shouldn't, without my consent, without my approval and the only thing I can do about it, the only thing I can do to have any control in this situation, is to let a doctor wave an ultrasound wand over it every 6 months for the rest of my life.

I feel out of control. I feel upset. I feel overwhelmed.

I will recover, I will go on to be a happy person. I will soon get all mushy about my wedding and all things love, hearts and kittens. But I need a couple of days to be sad about the fact that my life is changing in a way that I did not want it to and I can't put on a happy face and pretend like it's not happening. I know you haven't asked me to (well, several of you have, but most of you haven't), but I feel some sense of obligation to be entertaining here, and I just can't be that right now.

I appreciate your understanding, and I do hope you'll come back when I return, which will hopefully be soon.


Anonymous said...

You don't need me to tell you that it's okay not to blog. I have to fight that impulse too, reminding myself that it's mine to do with what I wish.

I'm so sorry that all this has happened, but reading your words indicates that you will use this setback as a way to become even cooler than you already are.

I wandered over via Twitter.

~~Silk said...

It's a little hard to act normal when you have a hand grenade with a loose pin in your pocket. The pin may never fall out, but you have to always be aware the grenade is there. Yeah.

the queen said...

~~Silk - ESPECIALLY at 24. That sucks exponentially.

Anonymous said...

That's my Katie! You do whatever it takes, with however much time you need, to work through this your way. I appreciate your explanation, but mainly I just appreciate your honesty. It's all fine and good to be brave but it's all too human to instead feel, really feel, exactly what you are feeling.

Here's looking to next week and finals and the school year being behind you!

Greta Perry said...

We'll be here whenever you get back! Take your time and you have every right to feel the way you do!

Anonymous said...

I've been to the "My body will continue to betray me forever" place and it truly does suck. I am so sorry.


Daisy, Just Daisy said...

Take all the time you need. I'm also 24 years old and I once had some test results come back abnormally (in my case, luckily, all was well) and I went through a lot of similar emotions. At 24 you should be worrying about the flowers at your wedding not health problems.

I hope you find the peace you are looking for.

kim-d said...

It just wouldn't be right for me NOT to chime in now. I'm with you on "fuck perspective." Somebody is almost always going to have it worse than you, and you are almost always going to have something to be "grateful" or thankful for. This is the time NOT to think about any of that, in my opinion. This is a time to just feel what you need to feel about YOUR situation and YOUR situation ONLY. Sometimes NOT minimizing your own situation is the only way to come to grips with it. But, ya know, some people...heaven forbid that we should ever take care of our own well-being first, huh?

Take whatever time you need to do and feel whatever you need and just fuck anybody, at least temporarily, who doesn't understand that...

You should be so lucky that I'd wander away from your blog, never to return...hehehe. Not gonna happen.

Lanny said...

Touching on what Kim said--nobody else matters right now but you. It doesn't matter if somebody has it worse (or thinks they do), what YOU are feeling about YOUR diagnosis is real and it (the diagnosis) sucks. End of story.

Take your time.

Ness said...

I totally understand your need of space. I feel that way myself because of all the comments I received privately about what I wrote on your entry the other day. Be true to yourself, Katie. It's the only way or so I've found out. God bless.

Flea said...

Do what you need to do, girl. We'll be here on the other side, and praying through the middle of it.

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I came to your blog through your comment on Ness's blog.
My jaw dropped when I saw your header picture. See, my son has that same scar. He obtained it when he was 8. He, too, has Chiari Malformation. And you're the first other person I've "met" who has it too!
I'm so sorry to read about your recent health problems. You are so young to be going through all of this.
Personally, I think anyone who thinks you should blog to entertain is full of crap. Your blog, and you should blog about whatever the hell you want!

lace1070 said...

Katie ~ go spend some time in your cave ~ seriously ~ I would. Thanks for your raw honesty as your share your life ~ keeping it real is what it's all about and I respect you for that. Your sense of humor is a part of you and won't be deterred by all of this. Press on ` Hugs ~ Lace

Anonymous said...

Girl, it has got to be hard to get news like that especially when you have problems with anxiety already. I don't know what to say except hang in there which I know you will because you have proven yourself to be a tough woman. Hopefully it helps to know that you have people out here cheering for you and just know that we will be here to listen when you are ready to "talk" again whether it is entertaining or not.

Anonymous said...

I fill so bad for Kaite. This is intristing to learn.