my life collapsed..words were uttered to me that i never wanted to hear, wish that could be taken back, but were said to me. i remember everything about that day.. i remember the mammogram technician, leaving the room and bringing in the doctor. (that had never happened to me before), i remember them taking several images focusing on one area, i remember them telling me they wanted to do a sonogram (which had happened before), i remember them saying they saw something (that had never happened), i remember the doctor talking to me in the hall, i remember the way she was leaning on the wall, i remember her saying she was almost positive that it was cancer. i remember making the appointment for the MRI, I remember leaving and calling Angelo (he was in Ohio visiting) and feeling like i just had the wind knocked out of me, i remember riding the bus across town, i remember angelo calling me back telling me that mary ann had words of wisdom, which i thought i didn’t want to hear, but told myself maybe they were wrong..i remember listening to her, i remember feeling like i wanted to believe her, but i knew in my heart that i had cancer..i remember the days that followed, the MRI, the surgeon visits, the core biopsy, the second opinion, the ultra sounds, the doctor telling me i had cancer and i needed surgery, chemo and radiation, i remember my third opinion, i remember her kindness, her hug, and her assurance that she would take care of me. i remember the PET scan, the mugga scan, i remember taking shots and harvesting our sweet little embryo, i remember going to work, i remember being in a daze, i remember feeling like i wanted to lose it every moment, i remember the day i called all my nyc friends and told them i had cancer and i needed them with me that very moment, i remember they all came and they all cried with me, i remember feeling scared, so very scared. i remember feeling angelo’s love, i remember looking into his eyes, i remember feeling bad for making people sad, i remember being out of my mind scared before surgery, i remember sitting in the waiting room with my parents, my sister, angelo and colleen, i remember my brother calling on the phone to tell me he loved me, i remember my surgeon holding my hand and rubbing my head in the operating room, i remember waking up, being in so much pain it was unbelievable, wanting desperately to see angelo’s face, and asking where he was, i remember laying in the hospital, i remember my beautiful flowers, all my amazing cards, and visitors, i remember my loving husband sleeping in the hospital room with me, sleeping on 2 chairs pushed together, i remember the kind nurses, i remember the ride home from the hospital and the gentle way the driver drove us home, i remember the asshole that yelled at us as we got out of the car and angelo wanting to kick his ass, i remember people taking care of me, setting me up in our apartment so that i could be comfortable, i remember my mom emptying my drains, angelo too, i remember my brother-in-law david buying me colace because i was constipated, i remember my first treatment, i remember feeling so awful and in pain i had no idea how i would get through 4 months of the same shit, i remember having someone with me everyday for 4 months straight, i remember having my legs rubbed by jessica, i remember my friends and family sitting with me in silence because talking was too much, i remember michelle, nancy and mcnamee taking days off of work to be with me, i remember my sister visiting me so many times i can’t even count, i remember the first time she left, i was devastated, i sobbed as she walked down the stairs, i remember my mom and dad also coming so many times i cant count, i remember feeling like a baby again, and i needed my parents so desperately to take care of me, i remember my mom becoming a new yorker..i remember the kindness of sam and georgia and how many times they opened up their home to my family so they could be with me, i remember the benefit that my friends put together for angelo and i in may, i remember my face hurting when i left from smiling so much, and i remember feeling happy that day..i remember needle sticks, blood tests, hours and hours in the waiting room awaiting chemo, i remember sitting beside angelo watching a movie on my ipod, i remember wondering how awful this must have been for him, i remember my husband being with me at every single chemo treatment, i remember the kindness of his co-workers, i remember getting through each treatment with the thought of it cant get worse and it did, i remember being thankful for the taxol (the last 2 months of chemo) and thinking how ridiculous that was because the bone pain was pretty awful, but less days in pain, i remember waiting for the last treatment, i remember the benedryl went under my skin, i remember the pain, but they fixed it, i remember the exact moment i noticed my hand swelling from lymphedema, i remember mary ann going with me to meet stephanie, i remember crying from one more thing added to the stack of many, i remember side effects that no one ever wants to hear about and some are still around..i remember our benefit in ohio, i remember angelo and i being scared out of our minds to go in, sitting in parking lot and wondering how we could not attend and not upset people, i remember walking in and not being able to move from that spot for at least 30 minutes because so many people were hugging me, i remember crying many many times from the overwhelming feeling of love, i remember that being one of the best nights of my life and i know angelo’s too, i remember being scared out of my mind again for my second surgery, i remember waking up in a lot of pain and being really pissed because i thought it would hurt less, i remember my mom and angelo emptying my drains again, i remember seeing my new chest and feeling very detached, i remember going to the set up for radiation and feeling so scared and overwhelmed with the feeling of what the hell happened to me, how did i get her, with all of the lights flying around the room, the loud noise of the machine, i remember everyday of radiation, i remember the routine of it all like i was just there, i remember the technicians who were so very kind to me, i remember my skin itching, blistering and opening up, i remember angelo standing with me in the bathroom applying gel pads to every inch of my burnt skin, i remember provincetown with my husband, i remember smiling a lot, and feeling relaxed, i remember watching tv in bed with ange when our new president was elected, i remember feeling hopeful, i remember coming home and feeling scared to go back to work, i remember not feeling like i belonged any more, i remember not relating to people, i remember just the other day avoiding someone at work that hadnt seen me since i had surgery, i remember feeling scared, i remember writing on the lots of helping hands site that my sweet friend katie set up and using it to be real, to get it out to try and let it go, i remember yesterday being afraid of today, i remember everything..
by Alyce Wagner at Thursday, February 12, 2009, 7:39 AM
When I turned on my computer this morning, I saw your message. I read every word and cried as I read it. I feel so bad that you had to go through all of that pain and suffering. I prayed so hard that it wouldn’t be cancer. I’ll never understand why it happened, but I believe that your experience has changed me. I have always been aware of the importance of checking my breasts, but I am much more aware of what I put into my body now. I’m certainly not perfect, but at least I am more aware. I am even feeding my dog organic dog food! You have also made me more aware of how fragile life is and how important family and friends are. I don’t know how people deal with things like cancer who don’t have a support base. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. You are a very special person, Jennifer…I have seen strength and grace and spunk, etc, etc, etc. Angelo was put in your life for a reason. I’ve always thought he was a sweetheart, but now I know for sure. Many hugs and kisses to both of you…I continue to think of you and pray for you.
by Margaret Herring at Thursday, February 12, 2009, 2:23 PM
I cried and cried right at my desk reading your post. That’s how much your story moved me. Although we don’t see each other, I want you to know that I was in awe of you when I would come visit NYC or you would come to Akron. You were this amazing, beautiful, exotic creature. NOW, I admire you for many other reasons. Not only are you those things, but you have displayed a courage I didn’t know was possible. I pray that your journey is filled with joy…more joy than pain as the days go on. I am always uplifted to hear you say you were able to relax or be happy. And I include you in my prayers on the days you are not feeling well. Thank you for sharing your story!