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Single Shot gets double whammied

12 Nov

Originally published October 13, 2011 on SingleShotSeattle.wordpress.com

As some of you may have noticed, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new on this blog. Part of the radio silence was because I was really busy with my writing; in addition to my usual freelance assignments, I started working on a novel.  

But in February of this year, I was sidetracked with something else: breast cancer.

I don’t know if breast cancer and the single life are all that intertwined —  there are plenty of studies regarding breast cancer and age, ethnicity, geographic location, etc., but nothing on marital status — but I thought I might as well start posting a few of my thoughts and stories on the subject. What the heck, it’s my blog.  ; )

But first a few vitals for those who might be interested.  After finding a weird “tuck” on my left breast, I went for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound on February 4, 2011 and was told I had three tumors in my two breasts. A needle biopsy the following week found yet another tumor. On February 11, my radiologist called to tell me all of the tumors were positive for invasive lobular carcinoma. On February 18, I met with my surgeon for the first time and she told me I would need a double mastectomy (talk about a bad first date). After two very rough months, that took place on April 18. 

While at first my surgeon thought I might be able to get away with “just” the double mastectomy and hormone therapy (i.e., tamoxifen for the next five years),   more fun awaited me when the post-surgery pathology report came back. Due to the size of the tumors (the “two” tumors in my left breast were actually one) and some minor lymph node involvement (again on the left side), I was told I would need further treatment.

So what did I do with my summer vacation?  Chemo, which is not nearly as much fun as it seemed on Sex and the City. I had four infusions total — my particular cocktail was taxotere and cytoxan — with my last infusion taking place August 8.  Chemo was every three weeks with only the first week being the really bad one. But it does wear a body down, so much so that by the time I was done, I could barely walk up the four flights of stairs to my apartment without stopping to rest about eight times. Thankfully, after a few weeks’ recuperation, I was up and running again – literally. At this point, I’ve been able to kick all of the chemo side effects to the curb (except for the hair loss, grrrr) and am halfway through radiation. Woo hoo!

So that’s the scoop on that.  As for the single life – particularly life as a single woman with breast cancer — I’m doing a series of stories on the subject for Today/MSNBC.com. I’ll post them as they go live. And I look forward to any questions you might have about this whole breast cancer thing, which I’m personally trying to treat like a really bad case of the mumps.

That’s it for now. Cheers to you all and thanks for reading.