My secret garden

Since my surgery, I’ve had a tough time getting dressed and moving around, so I haven’t gotten a chance to go outside a lot. Fortunately, you guys brought the outdoors to me.


My house smells like a rose garden, the kitchen looks like a terrarium and I’m basically living in my own private botanical fantasy. I feel like there should be cartoon birds and caterpillars leaping from petal to petal singing a Disney song about thankfulness. Every bouquet – and there are over a dozen of them – is uniquely beautiful, full of bright colors and beautiful blossoms. I never imagined for one second that so many people would care enough to send these fragile and beautiful gifts. I’m overwhelmed by them, you guys. Whether you sent a bouquet or a blanket or a text or an email or just positive vibes and prayers, I’ve never felt more loved in my life, and I can’t wait until I’m healed and healthy so I can return the favor in person. I am truly blessed.

This morning I was rudely awakened at the ungodly hour of 5am to a lot of shouting. I was confused and thought I was having a weird dream until I realized that I’d fallen asleep without setting the timer on the TV and some programming exec had decided that the buttcrack of dawn was the perfect time to air old episodes of Maury. Fortunately for this episode’s participants, the lie detector test determined that he was not sleeping with his fiance’s best friend. Phew! I rest can easy now.

I fell back asleep and was reawakened at about 10:30am to the voicemail picking up a call from my surgeon. He has a quiet, somber tone to his voice, no matter what he’s saying, but hearing him on the answering machine made my heart start beating like a hummingbird’s. I felt like I could hear him saying, “We found cancer in every organ in your body, you’re terminal and you have about 20 minutes to live so you should probably stop watching The View from your chaise lounge deathbed and actually live your life, bye.”

What he actually said was, “I have your pathology report in from the surgery, but it’s okay, just please give me a call back when you can.”

“It’s okay.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? The path report was okay? It’s okay that I missed your call? It’s okay if I call you back in 12 hours when my heart rate returns to normal? I basically lunged across the living room – as much as an invalid can lunge, anyway, so more of a shuffle/hobble – grabbed the phone and punched in his number with shaking fingers.

God bless this man, because the first thing he said to me was, “It’s good news.”

The tumor was removed with completely clear margins. There is no evidence of disease near my skin or nipples, so my reconstruction can proceed without the need for additional surgery or examination. There were no additional or unexpected lesions aside from the carcinoma detected on ultrasound and MRI. The right breast was entirely cancer-free. And best of all, my lymph node was 100% clear – not even a single microscopic cancer cell had drunkenly stumbled its way down my lymph system to my axilla. I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch (or my cancer cells before they get chemo-blasted), but my prognosis is bright.

The results of my genetic testing also came in, and they were normal. I don’t have the BRCA 1 or 2 mutation that can lead to early onset breast and ovarian cancer, so it looks like this whole ordeal is just a really bizarre fluke, and I get to keep my ovaries. I’m thrilled because my ovaries and I are pretty good buds. I have big plans for them someday.

I can honestly say that the worst thing about having cancer is waiting for results. The waiting is worse than the pain, worse than the JP drains, worse than the anesthesia, worse than the surgery, worse than the informercials that come on the Oprah Winfrey Network in between Oprah’s Life Class. But now it seems that my doctors have finally been able to gather the information that they need to determine the next step in my treatment, and I’m ready to keep moving forward.

5 thoughts on “My secret garden

  1. Jacki WJ says:

    Ouais! So happy to hear that. You are awesome. – Madame

    • Michelle says:

      Merci Madame. It means a lot that you are following along on this journey! Now that the surgery’s done, I can look ahead to the next step, and the next, until I’m cured.

  2. Helayne says:

    Michelle, a sense of humor, along with clear lymph nodes, is the best way to get through anything. I’m so glad you’ve kept yours. With love from 103 South Jefferson.


  3. Caroline says:

    YAY! This is great news!!! I hope that you’re feeling better today little panda friend! Love you!

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