Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Wave of Sadness

When I was diagnosed at age 42 with stage 3 breast cancer, I knew I wanted to write a book about the journey. I knew the writing process would be cathartic for me, and I wanted the end result to inspire others tackling breast cancer or adversity of any kind.

One in eight women will develop an invasive form of breast cancer in their lifetime, so another goal I have for this book is to bring more awareness to younger women. It’s so important to do your monthly breast exams and to make that appointment for your first mammogram when you turn 40.

Many of you may have followed me on my CaringBridge site for the weeks following my diagnosis. I mused about my double mastectomy, the strength and courage I was given from family and friends, shaving my head, and a few other milestones.

As of today, I am nearly finished writing the book, The Journey of My Jugs, and I have been working with my editor, Allison Roe, on the first seven chapters. I wanted to share a brief excerpt from the first round of edits. The next few paragraphs are from chapter one, moments after I received the dreaded breast cancer diagnosis.

~

There was still no fighting the tears and the ugly cry that had taken over me, so I called my husband Adlai, and I heard those famous words, we’ll get through this together. Another wave of sadness hit me. One deeper than anything I have ever felt. I haven’t been giving our relationship the time it deserved; instead I have been working full-time and picking up freelance writing jobs to grow my byline. My weekends were filled with writing assignments while my week nights were filled with teaching fitness classes or preparing for 5k and 10k races. I made my husband entertain himself. I felt like a terrible wife. Now, I was a terrible wife with cancer and a pity party was already in progress.

What would I say on my deathbed? I would tell him to find someone else, to remember me, but find someone else to love. I would tell him to find someone who will share a hunting experience with him, someone who loves to ride in boats that go really fast, someone who is a better wife than me.

I sobbed the entire way home. I felt like there was no hope for a new life after cancer even though my doctor was positive about my prognosis. My doctor drank from the glass that was half full, while I was drinking pulp at the bottom of a glass.

~

I hope you enjoyed this passage from The Journey of My Jugs. Be on the lookout for future posts that include more excerpts from my book. If you want to read more, please check out my CaringBridge site for longer passages.

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16 thoughts on “Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Wave of Sadness

  1. Teri Arnold says:

    I (Teri) look forward to reading your entire book. One thing I want to share with women over 40. Our daughter who was 42 on April 3, 2017, when she was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She was diagnosed very early because she replied to the request to update her family health history that her dad’s twin brother had been treated for Breast Cancer. Her doctor scheduled an MRI and found a very small lump. So the advice on top of getting mammograms and doing self exams is to carefully watch family history too. She still had test, surgery and radiation, but she was very fortunate to have been treated so early.

  2. You are not stopping to write, Nicole… and I feel it like another beautiful way to fight. I always remember you, actually miss you, with affection since the times you would blog regularly. Tears and everything you continue to be the beautiful person us your readers knew. I am glad for your husband as well, I am sure he felt not abandoned but honored to help you in the journey towards your dreams, is a proof that he believes in you. It feels strange to write from the distance of blogs, best wishes from far away, Nicole.

  3. Cannot wait to read your book fellow sister. Breast cancer tried to rob me of my life, it took my breasts, but I refuse to let it take anything else. Much love to you.

  4. You are a strong woman for going through this and fighting through it. I understand that you must be going through a lot. Do you believe in God? I suggest you give him a try during this time. All you need to do is find a quiet place that is free from distractions. imagine that Jesus is in front of you, and speak to him the way you will to a close friend. Tell him all about how you feel, and invite him into your life. When you are praying, you might find that you get the feeling that God is not there or not listening, do not give in to this, it is a trick by the devil to discourage you from prayer, God is there with you. Also beware of sudden distractions when praying, it is another trick the devil uses to discourage people from prayers. Stay focused in prayer and be assured that God is there with you. When your prayers are answered, remember to thank God. Also remember to maintain a relationship with him, keep telling him how you feel and start finding out about him so that he can continue to pour blessings unto you. Please do give this a try.
    Good luck and God bless.

  5. From one sister survivor to another, I can relate. Our journeys are different, but our invitation is the same. None of us ever joins this club willingly. My heart goes out to you and your husband. I wrote a memoir about my experience four years ago. It was very cathartic. There are still parts of it I can’t read without crying. I was 47 years old at the time of my diagnosis.

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