Confession: I’m Scared

Warning: This is a very, very emotional post. I’m not sorry.

Confession: I was scared to post this.

It’s 4:30 on a Friday, and I’m laying in bed with my laptop because it is freezing in my apartment.

Confession: I’ve been avoiding my blog for the past day or so. I’ve actually been avoiding my computer all together.

I should have been at a hospital this morning.

A nurse called me on Wednesday to reschedule my surgery from Friday to Monday. She asked me if it was OK, and I wanted to scream, “no, that’s not OK. I’ve been planning my life around this for the past month and a half!" But I didn’t. I said ok, hung up, and cried.

At first I wondered if I was overreacting. I mean, it’s only Friday to Monday, right? Only 72 hours…

But, 72 hours is a long time to wait when you’re already in full freak-out mode.

Yesterday, I received three calls from the hospital in less than two hours. The first call made me late to class. During the second, the nurse asked why I was having surgery, and then asked, “wait, you’re only 23, right?” Yes, I’m only 23.

The third call hit the hardest.

As I sat on the cold floor of my school’s lecture center, a nurse explained step-by-step what my surgery was going to be like. It made me nauseous.

  1. Pre-op
  2. X-ray
  3. Back to Pre-op
  4. IV-Sedation
  5. Operating Room

Oh, my. god. I’m in tears just thinking about it.

How is this happening? I’m only 23.

The doctors have been telling me for months that the lump is probably a benign tumor. But, what if it’s not?

What if I do have breast cancer? 

Confession: I don’t know what scares me more: getting the results or going through surgery.

I’ve spent hours reading about the procedure.

I’ve spent hours wondering how it’s going to affect me.

My surgery is scheduled for 12:10 on Monday. I have to be at the hospital at 10 a.m. I can’t eat or drink anything (even water) after midnight on Sunday. The nurse said I’ll probably be there for five hours.

Five hours. That’s a long time for Jeff to wait in the hospital waiting room. That was my first thought. My second: That’s more than 12 hours without food or water.

There are so many things about the situation that I’m scared of. I’ve been trying not to think about it too much.

Confession: I can technically walk in the Making Strides walk on Sunday because my surgery was postponed, but I have decided to go to a corn maze with a group of bloggers instead.

I think that participating in the walk will be too much for me to handle emotionally the day before my surgery.

Am I wrong? Am I being hypocritical? Am I a bad person for not doing the walk?

Confession: It’s taken me an hour to write this post and I still have a lot of things to say, but I’ve said enough for now.

Edit- 8:28 a.m. Saturday:  A direct message to those of you who have reached out: Thank you.

I’m going to be honest with you and say that I really did not expect this response. Moments after the link to my post went up on twitter last night, at least 10 of you re-tweeted, and many more of you have tweeted about it since then. I contemplated not hitting publish on this post. Writing it all down was therapeutic, but at first I thought it was too emotional, too private to share. I thought that you guys would think I was being overly dramatic. I thought that I’d be criticized for not wanting to walk on Sunday.

Before I posted, I reached out on twitter and asked if I should hit publish. A lot of you said yes without knowing what my post was going to be about. In a direct message, Caitlin said, “I guarantee people will be supportive.” I still didn’t completely believe her.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that this isn’t my first post on the topic. I’ve written about how I found the lump and my horrible mammogram experience. I’ve written about my follow-up ultrasound and how the doctor told me that the lump was probably benign, but he couldn’t be sure. I wrote about how I finally decided to get a biopsy and the lump surgically removed.

But, I’ve never, ever broken down in a post like this.

Honestly, it came out of nowhere. When I started writing this post, I had no idea that I’d be in tears by the middle of it. That’s what writing does, I guess.

My first thought was: I can’t post this.

But I did. Somehow, I found the courage to, and your response has blown me away. I severely underestimated the power of the blogging community. I should have known from the start that it would be ok for me to voice my private feelings in such a public way. I will never hesitate to post something like this again.

The comments I’ve received– both on this post and on twitter—have made me feel loved and supported. Especially the ones from people who have never commented before. Some of you have even started your comments by saying, “I know you don’t know me, but…”

So, to long-time readers, and new ones: thank you so, so, so much. You guys have no idea how much this means to me.

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48 comments

  1. I am SO glad that you wrote this post. There are THOUSANDS of women and men out there who are facing or have faced the SAME thing. To give VOICE to it, to be honest with what you’re going through is so incredibly powerful. That’s the beauty of being raw at times, because it resonates with people.

    I will be thinking of you. Sometimes, if you can, surrender to the feelings and try to make peace with them. At this point you’ve done all that you can. You can’t do anymore and the results, right now, are out of your hands. I know that I would be running all of the scenarios through me head, but I am learning to try and just be with what is.

    Hugs…and thank you for having the courage to share this. I KNOW that you’re going to touch many.

  2. You are such a strong and beautiful woman, Rebecca! It is so normal to be scared and nervous!

    I had a bunch of genetic testing done a few years back (When I was 22) which ended with the doctor basically telling me b/c of my family history i would probably have SOME sort of cancerous development. A matter of when, not if.

    I feel so deeply for you. You are staying on top of this and doing the right thing I’m sending all the good vibes and love I have your way. And definitely do not feel guilty about not walking – I would do the same thing.

  3. In times like this, you must do what you can and what feels right to get by period. Anyone who judges has no idea what you’re going through and you have a right to every emotion you’re feeling. I can’t imagine, you’re an incredibly strong person to be able to share this everyone. There are people reading who need to know that there are others out there too. Bravo Rebecca!

  4. There are so many women who’ve gone through this (or are currently facing it) and are probably also afraid, just like you. Girl, you need to write things like this. If only that we can send you positive vibes and tell you you’re not alone. Hang in there, girl. You are strong. xo

  5. (( hugs ))

    you should go to the corn maize and Have Fun. you are not a bad person – my gosh, look at what you have done INSTEAD OF and FOR the walk… bless you for all that you are doing, and for having the strength to share and write this post.

    it is normal to be scared… please try to relax and think of other things.

    we are all here for you, in spirit at least. <3

  6. Lady, you will be okay! I hear ya though. It’s scary to think about the “what if’s,” especially when you have to wait a few more days. I say go and have fun with your blog friends this weekend! 🙂

    Let me know if you need anything at all. I can always send more Murphy photos!

  7. Oh, honey, my heart is breaking for you…my biggest hope is that by letting it out and asking for support, you get the peace you need.

    Here’s the thing. It is what it is. If it’s bad news, you’ll know and can attack it. If it’s good, you’ll have one more thing to be thankful for. This experience may not seem like a blessing now, and BELIEVE ME, the last thing I want to do is make you feel like I’m putting your feelings down. I’m in tears at home thinking about what this is doing to you.

    But in the end, you are strong enough to handle whatever may come. And you’re surrounded by people who love you and are keeping you in their hearts.

    You don’t have to apologize for anything you do (or don’t do) until you are at peace with your health.

  8. You are in no way being hypocritical. You are facing the scariest moment of your life, and if being with friends is what gets you through it, then girl…go give that corn maze hell. 🙂

    Stay strong. *hugs*

  9. I went through the same thing you did and I know my words won’t help but here goes…

    I was FREAKED OUT. Beyond freaked out. I was alone and scared and paranoid and I thought for sure it was was cancer. I thought for sure I’d have to go through painful surgeries, chemo, all of that. After the biopsy they said they it was “most likely benign” but couldn’t be 100% sure. That’s when I decided to have the surgery to remove the lump.

    It was a horribly, scary experience. But it wasn’t nearly as scary or horrible as I thought it was going to be. I had the surgery, (I don’t remember falling asleep), woke up to some pain. The drugs made me sick, then I went home. I was sick for 3 days in bed from the anesthesia and pain meds then I started to improve. It will take awhile but you’ll be fine. I promise it’s not quite as awful as your mind is imagining!

  10. You have every right to be emotional about the situation. You have every right to be scared, frustrated, nervous and whatever else decides to show up for the party. I do not think not walking on Sunday is wussing out. I think you’re being smart. You’ll get through this because you’ve got support and you’re strong. Don’t forget that.

  11. Hey hon, I know you don’t know me, but I followed a little birdie (aka Twitter) here, and just wanted you to know that I am praying for you. I’m also praying to see a wonderful update soon.

    Love,
    MP

  12. Reading this post my first thought is how much you need a hug and for someone to tell you that you will get through this. Do not worry about whether you should do that walk! No one is in any place to tell you what to do, what you should be feeling or how to react. My thoughts are, enjoy your Sunday with your friends. Maybe someone somewhere knew that you needed that day to receive their love and support. Thinking of you. You are an inspiring person and so brave to share this journey.

  13. There are just no words that can possibly relieve the emotions you must be feeling. All I can offer is a virtual hug and shoulder to cry on. Monday will come and you will get through this. In times like this, we find strength and resilience we didn’t know we had. Lean on anyone who offers you support. Know that you don’t have to, nor are you, going through this alone.

  14. I’ve had two open heart surgeries, my first at 26. They postponed that one a full week, just a couple of days before I went in. It was terrifying, especially because I was scared enough without the postponement.

    My husband sat alone through my second one for awhile until my dad was able to get there (it was 3 hours away in Boston). I’m hopeful someone will be able to come sit with him or that he has someone he’ll be able to talk to you while you’re in the OR.

    You’ll get through it. Rely on your loved ones to carry you through, they love you and will be there through it all with you. Ts and Ps.

  15. It is not hypocritical in the least to not want to do the walk. You need to do whatever feels right for you, not whatever “seems” like the right thing to do. Like Katy said, the sooner you have an answer either way, the sooner you can either attack the bad news or move past this and be thankful. I hope you can get your mind off this a bit at your blogger meetup. You’re in my thoughts and prayers and I’m sending you a big, big virtual hug. xoxo

  16. I think it was a good call to put this post out there – both for you and for others you can help by sharing it. I can appreciate how scary it is to be in a situation like this. I personally experienced it earlier in the year (twice); not having dealt with anything like it before.

    I had an episode that landed me in the ER after Christmas which spiraled into lots of tests to figure out what was going on but it wasn’t until 2 surgeries later that they really got a handle on it. I remember that once my first surgery was scheduled that I thought / worried about it every day until it happened. The good thing about it was that when the day arrived the 5 hour procedure literally felt like only minutes went by after they put me under. In my case, the experience and the outcome were better than I had imagined.

    Hang in there this weekend. Enjoy the time with your friends. And I’ll be sending plenty of good thoughts your way on Monday for both your surgery and results. Take care.

  17. Hi Rosey Rebecca!

    I know it is probably overwhelming for you to read all these comments from people you don’t know. It can be for me too. I’m glad you shared though. Because if sharing words is therapeutic, then oftentimes hearing supportive words after sharing means a lot too.

    I’ve been through many surgeries, minor to major. I’ve also had many expectations with surgeries. It seems to me that my worries tend make me have to live through emotional trauma twice. Because the things that I think will go wrong probably don’t, and I spend a lot of energy about those. The things that do go wrong, I never anticipated so I spend energy processing their reality and impact.

    I’m glad you’re sharing your worries. Because that seems to help quite a bit. You are dealing with a lot right now, and I wanted to be sure to validate that. Just because they say it probably isn’t doesn’t mean your brain won’t insist on going there. Just be gentle and loving with yourself. Cuddle up your heart and snuggle it close, to make sure you feel loved. Please?

    I will be thinking of you.

    1. Actually, thinking about how many people out there that don’t know me and don’t know what I’m going through, but came to my blog to leave supportive comments anyway is making me feel stronger.

  18. What beautiful strength and courage. Thank you for writing this – for you, for everyone. This simply needs to be said. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, Rebecca! Love to you!

  19. Woke up thinking about you this morning! Wondering how you were doing and knowing that you’re very strong and will be able to tackle this no problem. I think going out with bloggy friends is a fantastic idea! Walks like the one on sunday make for emotional train wrecks at the best of times, you’re best to be in the company of those that will help you giggle, have a good time and a for a short while escape your mind.

    You will be fine! You are strong!We’re all here behind you supporting you!

  20. Rebecca!!! I’m an absolute IDIOT! I only just talked to you on Twitter…I’m so sorry, I was so out of the loop..I didn’t realize what you were going through. I’m going to make up for time lost now, by sending you all the virtual hugs, and REAL prayers, that I can. You’ll be on my heart and mind all day.

    ((hugs))

  21. Hi Rebecca,

    I came across this post via several retweets and I just wanted to join the voices in expressing my concern. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling, but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are not alone.

    Hugs,
    Sarah

  22. Rebecca- I think your blog and your strength are wonderful and inspirational! I went through the exact same thing and had a core needle biopsy on a lump in my breast when I was 23 (3 years ago now!) and I know how scary it can be (although the literature I read about it was SO much scarier than the actual procedure). I also know how much it can affect your whole life, school, relationships etc. Luckily, it was benign, the surgery was WAY less scary than I thought (the waiting/anticipation is certainly the most difficult part)

    You are young, strong and healthy though and I truly believe everything will turn out just fine! I didn’t have a blog or twitter 3 years ago, but if I did I hope I would have had the strength to write about it, and how it effected me, as eloquently as you have here!

  23. Rebecca, you are so much stronger than you know and you will get through this. I’m so sorry that they are making you wait, but this is nothing you cannot handle. You will come out of this experience a stronger, more confident, self assured person because of this. And I KNOW everything will be ok.

    I’ll be thinking of you!! xoxo

  24. I’ve been thinking about you all week. It’s okay to be scared! But you’re a super strong person, and you’ll get through this, no matter what the results are. Take care of yourself!

  25. It’s so normal to be scared. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling but I know that even if you don’t feel it, you are so brave and strong. It must feel awful to have to wait until Monday since you’d prepared yourself for it to be yesterday. But hang in there. The time will pass and you’ll come through this.

    I definitely don’t think it’s bad that you’re not doing the walk. If it’s too much for you, then don’t do it. You need the strength for Monday and you’re already reaching out to so many people through your blog and everything else you’re doing. Put yourself first this week.

    Praying for you xxx

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