I missed #metsmonday yesterday, but I’ll be doubling up today, starting with the continuation of my story of how I got my MBC diagnosis.
After the incident at the school, I knew I had to get a brain MRI but decided to put it off until Christmas. I wanted to enjoy my time with my family, including my dying grandmother, and frankly, I wanted to have one last Christmas free of MBC.
As luck had, my symptoms subsided and between my ability to be active cycling and swimming, l had some hope that I didn’t have breast cancer in my brain after all. I knew I still needed an MRI though. Christmas, glorious Christmas, went far too fast and the new year brought the task I was dreading. New Year’s Day, I met my early-stage breast cancer friend Dora for drinks. I slammed back Jameson on the rocks and finished her red wine and asked her for her opinion on whether it would be ethical to still have a baby via surrogacy even if my scan came back positive. She reassured me that even after losing her own mom to breast cancer as a young adult, she wouldn’t change a thing about her life. In my next buzzed-up quest to get mets-ready, I went home and messaged a few of mine and Younes’ female friend’s, asking if they would be his second wife if I died (CRINGE). Then I finally emailed my oncologist and asked for a brain scan. The next day, I texted with a friend who has non-cancer related grand mal seizures. ‘No big deal if you’re having them they’ll put you on Keppra,” he said. ‘But I have a cancer history and you don’t so it is a big deal,” I shot back.
The scan order placed, Younes and I made plans to head back to our apartment and jobs. My grandmother was iffy but holding her own, especially for a 93-year old woman. Younes and I visited her the day before we were supposed go back and she seemed on the upswing. We showed her YouTube videos of Irish Setters (her beloved dogs), hugged and kissed her goodbye and thought she was on the upswing.
I know now that when someone in declining health seems like they are on the upswing, it often means that they are making peace with the end of their life. That was what Grandma was doing apparently. A few hours later, I got back from a bike ride and received the news she was gone.
Losing Grandma, who once declared that “85 was the perfect age to die,” wasn’t so much a loss in and of itself, but the ending of an era. My mom’s dad and dad’s dad dropped dead of heart attacks in 1995 and 2012 respectively. My dad’s mom was lost to a combination of Parkinson’s and breast cancer in 1999. Grandma was my last remaining grandparent. Our history, our legacy, was slipping from our fingers little by little. On the other hand, I was grateful that none of my grandparents would have to experience the heartbreaking tragedy of burying their grandchild.
Even knowing that I would likely have to take off work for the scan, I still took two days off to help my parents pack up Grandma’s assisted living complex. As we celebrated the end of several days of hard work with burgers and milkshakes, my phone rang. It was the scheduler calling to set up my brain MRI. No turning back now…
TBC with the actual diagnosis and surgery…