Had I known how drastically my life would change in the days and months following the discovery of my lump I would have never given myself the chance to fight this thing head on. In a classic snowball effect, the bottle-cap-size mass turned into a triple black diamond express. While I am no expert, all those winters pretending to be a ski bum have finally payed off.
Since the very beginning I made an unconscious effort to only see, address and respond to the issues at hand. I distinctly remember the horrifying look on the face of the ultra sound tech upon my initial examination. She left the room in a hurry to return with a Radiologist who insisted on doing the biopsy the same day. It took almost a week for the results to come back. It was then that I decided that worrying for the next 6 days wasn’t going to change the outcome and the only way to get through that week was to keep living my life. I have about a dozen similar examples and I’d like to think I have totally mastered the idea of compartermentalizing my feelings. In my opinion, if you have cancer- ignorance is bliss.
I was initially diagnosed with DCIS -Stage 0 Breast Cancer. I tested negative for protein receptors. Which means that cancer is not driven by hormones like estrogen or progesterone and therefore I was not an OKEMO candidate. I remain thankful to the Doctor who made this mistake in my diagnosis, it bought me time and spared me serious devastation about the road ahead. (Just to calm your fears, I no longer see that Doctor, and I don’t fault him as he was only going off my biopsy results which are only somewhat conclusive).
After 4 trips to OKEMO I’m shredding on mostly ice. The side effects are starting to kick my butt, I am often tired, get nose bleeds, my bones hurt from the inside and even though I have a full head of hair (thank you ColdCap) my hair is fragile and my scalp is irritated. Lucky for me I have so much more to focus on. Patrick, Alexa and Gussy bring me endless amount of joy and irritation I am often too busy to remember I’m tired from OKEMO(& blame them instead). The excitement of Christmas and seeing my family and friends push me to get up and go every minute, and more often than not I forget that I didn’t want to. Working 3 days a week has been the best and most gratifying distraction, kudos to my work family for totally making work fun. I miss styling my hair and being able to wash it without constant fear of it falling out. Sometimes I imagine Alexa pulling on it and taking a whole chunk out but I dismiss those terrifying thoughts and am thankful I still have hair to worry about.
If you take the South Face Express Quad, you’ll find yourself at the peak of OKEMO where the elevation is 3,444 Feet. Take a left off the lift, secure your gloves, adjust your goggles, hit play on your iPhone shuffle (if its not frozen) go down Upper Wild Thing and you’ll find yourself at the edge of Blind Faith. It looks scary looking down but go anyway. Thats my OKEMO, I can’t possibly worry about each side effect, the bitter cold sensation of the drug, or my icky IV site. I have to take the leap of faith and ski down. At times, I take wide S turns and pizza when things get out of hand but my goal is to get down, and I will, in one piece.When I do, you can buy me a beer at South Face Village Lodge. Ski ya later.
Thank you for reading. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to You & Yours.