Thursday afternoon, just a couple hours after the biopsies, I took a greyhound bus for 3 hours to get to my friend’s house. This was the friend that had Leukemia many years prior. I planned to spend the weekend with her and her family, not expecting my biopsy results right away but also knowing it would be the perfect place to receive the news if need be.
The following day we went to a furniture warehouse of sorts to pick up a piece of furniture she had purchased previously. It was a large space and while she was handling her purchase, I was roaming around aimlessly.
Suddenly, my phone rang and I knew it was the call. I immediately answered and as I made my way to the front of the warehouse, they shared my diagnosis. On Friday, July 15, 2016, I got the call that I was officially diagnosed with Triple-Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it had spread to at least one axillary lymph node. An immediate wave of relief washed over me. Obviously, it wasn’t good news but I needed an answer at this point. It had been 2.5 months since I first felt the lump and within 24 hours of testing in the US, I received my diagnosis. Now, I could finally move forward.
I honestly can’t remember the details of the conversation because I was focusing on remembering the name of the cancer to promptly google it, as all good patients do. But we did set up an MRI for the following Monday. That was the next step.
I sat for a moment, feeling relief and a strange sense of peace. I felt the quiet before the storm and for just a moment, I was the only person (apart from my doctors) that knew my actual diagnosis. When I was ready, I wandered back into the warehouse looking for my friend. I let her finish up the process with the employee and waited until the car to tell her. We both expected it, so we didn’t feel shock or fear but just a sense of understanding. She sat as I called my mom, and then my dad, and then my sister, to tell them all the diagnosis. The calls were promptly followed by texts as I knew they’d also forget ‘Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.’ It’s kind of a mouthful.
I spent the weekend with my friend and her family, laughing and joking about cancer in a way that you do only if you’ve experienced it firsthand. We reminisced about my friend’s experience and talked through what the future may hold for me. It was just what I needed.