Just a few days ago, as I was coming to grips with all of this and starting to share my news when a former colleague who I love and have been SO proud of posted a pic on her Facebook page, “Getting a new chemo drug. I know it’s working!” and I knew it was time for me to share:
Hey Kath- Just wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking about you. Almost a month ago I found a lump in my left breast, and since then we’ve confirmed I have some pretty aggressive breast cancer. I’ve got a mastectomy scheduled for 8/16, but on the left side only… I’ll still need an extra special over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder for righty, since my surgical oncologist wants me to wait until after my likely radiation and chemo before dealing with reducing that side from what is currently a K-cup. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of the grace that you have faced your situation, and I only hope that I can be as strong. I know my path will be MUCH easier, since I don’t actually need the boobs any more, but I wanted to let you know that you continue to be such an inspiration to me. I know that the chemo you’re doing now will help you, just as I know I’ll kick this cancer’s ass… Love you! Ange
She and I used to joke about being busty, the “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder” was her term for the feats of engineering that I call a bra, and for the seven years I was at KOMO, I had a chance to call her a friend. For 14 years, that beautiful, courageous soul fought against tumors in her brain, that took her voice, her breath, her looks, but never ever took away her spirit. And today, the side effects of that chemo, which worked TOO well and weakened her immune system to the point where she could no longer fight. Kathi Goertzen fought her disease with everything that she had in her, but she did not ever give up who she was.
So it doesn’t seem fair that I’m completely freaking out over my stupid boobs. But this morning I signed a piece of paper saying that we plan to cut them both off, and put in some tissue expanders. Temporary implants under my pecs that I will go in every other week, assuming I end up having chemo, the weeks I don’t get that, and have filled with more and more fluid until I can grow the appropriate skin, and after all of my treatment, I can have reconstruction.
But it doesn’t feel free to worry about things even like pain, when I will live.
On a positive side note, a friend brought over a small wine cube (two bottles) from Target. It fit in my sports bra… while I’m not wearing it of course… for now. With the double mastectomy, I’ll be able to carry 4 bottles worth of wine, or whatever. Must make use of these ridiculous bras somehow.