The first time I ever knew somebody who was sick was in 1994 when my grandmother had breast cancer. My dad has been sick my whole life with bad psoriatic arthritis but he never really let us kids know he was in pain. With Grammy, it was obvious. She lost her hair, she was weak and for the first time in my entire life I had seen her vulnerable. Her usual stoic persona was cracked and I remember that leaving a huge pain in my heart for her.
My grandmother was like my best friend growing up. She was there for me for everything, and still is to this day. 20 years after Grammy had her cancer I was diagnosed with a lump in my left breast that needed to be removed and biopsied. I’ve been so sick the last 5 years it was ALMOST the straw that broke the camels back. I flashed back to my grandmother’s living room and her laying sick from chemo on the couch looking so timid. I picture it as if it was yesterday.
I pulled from her strength last year when I had my surgery and then waited the two weeks for pathology to come back on my lump. It was begin. Hurrah, praise the Lord. One year later (currently) I have another one. I will be having it removed next week along with a large tumor on my thyroid. They then will send the tissue to pathology again to ensure they are non cancerous. I am not worried. I have this weird sense of calm because last year when I was freaking out my grandmother was so strong for me.
When a breast surgeon tells you that your risk for breast cancer is moderately increased its never news you want to hear. When he says you will continue to get lumps and keep having to get them removed, that sucks. I have been chronically ill for 16 years and yet the only illness anyone can even remotely understand and know what it feels like emotionally is the possibility of breast cancer.
No one understands what it means when I say I have tachycardia. No one knows what its like to not get enough oxygen to your brain and all the things that entails. People can try to understand and they do, hard, but they don’t get it. Grammy understands what I am going through in this case and I have to say it makes me so at ease that indeed this is not going to be the straw that breaks me because Grammy is my backbone braced and ready for anything.
I am not nervous about surgery. I am not nervous about pathology. I am nervous that in my lifetime no one will figure out Mast Cell Disease. I am nervous that I will spend the rest of my days tired, in and out of consciousness and living in this world that has no meaning. I am nervous that POTS will be with me until I die.
Bring it on lumpy left breast. I am ready for you. Whether you are benign or not and then the next time and time after that…I will fight you because I am not alone in this fight. I have my Grammy behind me.