In June of this year (2018), I was diagnosed with breast cancer — to be specific, invasive ductal carcinoma (stage 2, initially stage 1), hormone positive, Her2/neu negative [I’ve learned that these details are important to survivors and help us recognize one another and understand our respective journeys]. It was an absolute shock, coming after a routine mammogram. I was three months away from retirement, ready to begin the next chapter of my life, and expected this mammogram to turn out like all the others — clear. There is no history of breast cancer in my family, and no history of cancer, period. Now if you told me that I was going get diabetes (which I have) or heart disease (which I’m at risk for), I would have said “oh well, that’s what runs in my family, so it comes with the territory.” But not this. I had no frame of reference, no experience, no knowledge other than what I’ve read casually in the news.
I made a decision nearly from the beginning that I was going to beat this and it wasn’t going to beat me. I have a lot to live for — my husband, my children, friends, travel, hobbies, good books, great food — and fuck cancer, thus the title of this blog. But not every day is a “fuck cancer” day. Some days, like the day I am writing this intro, are sad ones, or ones filled with fear of losing things — my strength, my family, my health, the taste of good food — and I need to remind myself that I am, if nothing else, a fighter.
Part of how I plan to fight this is by writing about my experience. I hope it helps others who face this disease. But mostly it’s to help me get through it.
Copyright Janet Hiser 2018