Four Days In: What I’ve Learned About Breast Cancer

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If you haven’t visited my facebook site in a couple of days, you might not know, but I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer. No specifics yet, as we’re only four days out from diagnosis.

There is some anxiety about the unknown, but mostly a driven determination that we’ll emerge on the other side, survivors.

The face of breast cancer, now includes this one:

Oh, Mrs. Tucker!

I thought about keeping this within my circle of loved ones and not opening up the topic to the Internet, then decided against that because it felt right to share in the hope that someone somewhere will find hope and calm in the story offered.

I’ll start with this: I’m a great caregiver.  If you’re sick, if you’re hospitalized, I’m the gal you want on your side.


…and now, I’m the gal being hollered for.

It’s a hard moment when you realize that you can’t be someone’s champion, but that you’re counting on others to be yours.  I’m eager to accept the help, the wisdom, the knowledge I don’t have, yet it’s a role to which I am unaccustomed.

LET ME HELP!  LET ME FIGHT!  LET ME POUND AND RAIL! LET ME RALLY THE DOCS AND NURSES!  There’s a role I know.  There’s a role I excel in.

This new side of the coin is unfamiliar to me and makes me uncomfortable in the simple fact that my very diagnosis is making folks sad, ergo, I’m the cause of sadness.

I hate it.

But what can I do, other than move through it with as much grace, faith and ass-kicking strength as I can manage?  Nothing other than that, so that’s what I will do; that’s my new role. I’ll leave the care-giving to others (~snort~  even I didn’t believe that!)

Four Days In: What I’ve Learned

* Those who love you, will looooove you.  We have been the recipients of more love and kindness in these four short days than I could have imagined.  We have been added to prayer lists near and far, and have strangers lifting us for the very best outcome possible.  We have been messaged and called and encouraged.  We have had love packages show up in person and through the mail (biggest surprise ever). We have been shown we matter and are loved beyond measure.  We have been cared for while we cried and ranted and stood facing the fear bearing in.  So many have offered their love.  This, LOVE, is the greatest of all.

* I’m learning where I have failed those in need.  As the love tsunami continues for us, I see where I have failed others.  It’s a hard lesson when faced with the kindness of so many.  If I have failed you in any way, take heart that I am learning this lesson well.  I will never forget this.

* You don’t know any more than I do, in some areas, so don’t pretend you do.  Please keep any theories about my life habits that you think are killing me or brought on my cancer…unless you can show me the solid research.  Even then, the help of this sort can wait. Give a gal a hot minute to come to terms with her new reality, won’t ya?

* If you’d like to avoid saying the wrong thing: THIS.  Even I have inserted my foot in my mouth when trying to offer comfort, so don’t feel alone.  #dumpout #comfortin

* Do not message someone, whom you don’t know, with unsolicited advice before running your ideas by someone within their inner circle. It also helps not to discuss intimate concerns with complete strangers.  GET THEE TO AN OUTER RING!  #dumpout (see previous bullet point)

* There is no need to ask if you can bring me a donut.  The answer is always yes.

* Do not say it’s “only” breast cancer.  But if you must, say it online, so there’s no chance I will punch you in the throat.

* Irreverent jokes about breast cancer make me supremely happy.  My running line, if I ask my family for something and they hesitate: But…I have breast cancer. ~sad eyes~

* Do not judge the joke. I’m no fool; I know this is deadly serious business.  I know I may be fighting for my life.  I know folks die from breast cancer every day.  I know.  In no way am I making small of the fight, nor diminishing those who have died or will from this disease. I’m simply, for my own mental health, trying to lighten the horror of the what-ifs, not only for me, but for those worried sick around me.

* I have a cancer lock-box. The day I heard my diagnosis, hours after really, I had an appointment with my inlaws to learn about pre-planning their funerals.  (can’t make the funny up, y’all) I had already been crying buckets and trying to catch my breath for a few hours, yet decided to keep the appointment.  I dried my eyes.  Put the cancer in the lock-box.  Took a shower.  Got dressed.  Made the two hour meeting without telling my inlaws the news (that would happen the next day). Drove home, crying all over again. The next day they were astounded that I had been able to be “me” at the meeting.

It wasn’t “me.”  It was the grace of God in me. No way am I that strong.  Sure, sure, I have badass running through my veins, but you have to believe me that it was not of me that I did what I did that day.


* It is not fine.  It is not okay.  Garry says nothing about this is fine nor okay, and he’s right.  Garry wants us to say instead: We’ll survive this. We’ll beat this. We’ll get to the other side.

Of course, baby. Anything for that dear sweet man.

Look at this crazy list.  So many things.  In four short days.

I suspect another series will be coming out of my diagnosis.  Why not share the wealth of information I’m about to learn? Yet, most of my writing about my journey will happen on my other site:  Bookmark it (i’m working on getting a subscription list) or just pop in.  Or not.  I’m not the boss of you.

Thank y’all for your prayers.  Please consider continuing to remember me and my family in them.  I’m so grateful for your love and concern.  ~smooches~



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  1. Jennifer Parks says

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Good luck cancer…you picked the wrong lady to mess with.

  2. Colleen Pence says

    Patti, you are gutsy, strong, smart, and hilarious. No cancer (or anyone) can ever take that away from you. In fact, I bet those fine qualities are only enhanced by this experience, difficult though it is.

    I learned so much about myself during and after my cancer diagnosis. I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. But the lessons it’s taught me? Priceless.

    I continue to keep you in my prayers, friend. And I hope to see you soon.

    • What a generous and strengthening comment to read this morning. You have offered me wisdom, prayers and an ear if I need it. Doesn’t get much better than that. Thank you, Colleen.

  3. I freaking hate cancer. You’ve got this!!! Fight on, Patti!

  4. Oh Buyit! You know you will be in my thoughts. You know I am rooting for you, and your hubby, and your family…you are always strong in the face of adversity, hugs and… more hugs….

  5. Oh sweet Patti….I am in tears for you. At the same time I think badass and tough cookie and funny lady when I see your name! You are in my thoughts and prayers, dear friend……I will follow your journey and cheer you along! Thank you for trusting us. Hugs and prayers.

  6. #fubc

  7. All the feels this morning. Although we’ve never met in person, you’re someone I admire and aspire to. You have this amazing, understated strength that makes me want to be a better human. Seriously.

    The fact that you can face this with steel in your eyes and a smile on your lips is absolutely incredible.

    The lock box. I have (had?) one of those when I was facing some serious personal issues, including a divorce after being married for less than a year. People always told me I was strong… I told them I could either laugh and fake it, or I could start crying, lose my mind and be locked in a padded room for the rest of my days.

    Now I realize it IS strength that makes one able to put aside the scary things we’re facing in order to function and help others. You, my incredible friend, have it in spades!

    • Wow. What a comment! First of all, having all the feels is a good thang, friend. It means you are on the right track. Thank you for such kind and thoughtful words today. I’ll come back and read this when I’m feeling like I’ve lost my edge. BTW: lockboxes are a lovely thing to have! Thanks, Jennifer.

  8. I take exception to one thing you said. You give away all the credit for the strength you showed at the meeting with your in-laws. NOT SO! That strength is in you! It is YOURS! Give God the credit for this gift of strength if you will, but never doubt you are strong. I’m looking forward to continuing to read your posts for many years and I know you are not going to let me down.

    • Bob, at the first words of this comment, I steeled myself for whatever might come, but then I saw how generous you were and relaxed. Thank you for the encouragement. How could I let you down, now? HOW?!

  9. I am sending you a big HUG and thinking of you and your family and also sending my prayers! I think it is great that you’ve opened up to us about this. We are all here to support you through the good and the bad. I wish I lived closer so I could bring you a donut! XOXO

  10. Always sending love and prayers! Let me know if you ever need anything.

  11. Rocio Chavez (@yoursassyself) says

    Cancer sucks, but I love you’re view on it and life. You are courageous and I know whatever comes you’re way you’ll handle without hesitation. Sending love, light and healing your way!

  12. I was very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. I can tell that you are a strong woman. I know you can beat this. Sending good thoughts your way.

  13. Patti I am sad to read this news! Breast cancer is something all women fear, and I’m sure it was devastating news to receive. I know you will work hard to get the best treatment possible. I will keep you in my prayers that you will tolerate your treatments well and have a fill remission. {{{{ Hugs}}}}

  14. A virtual donut and hug. BB2U

  15. Wow. I’m so sorry to hear this and I will pray for you. This post especially resonated with me because two weeks ago I had a routine mammogram and was told I have a “mass”. When is a mass ever good news? Maybe a huge account at Mass mutual? LOL. Anyway, I’m waiting for more tests. Nervous and worried but trying not to be.

    • Tayla, right?! I will pray (have added your needs/concerns to my prayer book) that it’s the most benign mass they’ve ever seen. The anxiety can be overwhelming. Praying for peace, friend.

  16. Tracey lonergan says

    Sending you love and prayers and a couple of donuts from the UK XXXX

  17. wow, praying for you. you seem like a very strong person and I hope you kick cancer’s butt.

  18. Best blessings to you! Linda from Crafts a la mode

  19. Sending my love and support! xoxox

  20. Patti – I just want you to know I’m thinking of you. When I saw the news on Facebook the other day it threw me. Although I must say, for as little as I know you, I know you have what it takes to kick cancer’s butt. You are awesome! I’m going to send you a note to get your address – I have something I would like to bring you.

    • Haeley, what a lovely note. I know that feeling of being thrown. 😉 We are proceeding in faith. We are loved and we are well-cared for, by my team of docs, our family and our concerned friend (including you!).

  21. I missed this when you first posted it but saw your note on Facebook today. Your list is perfect. You are in my prayers. I hope that knowing so many people are praying for you and sending healing vibes in your direction will give you strength when you need it most. God bless.


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