How I Reluctantly Entered The “Pipeline”

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

I dedicate this post to each and every one of you who took this year long journey with me.  You are my heroes. I love you.

A year has transpired and I can’t help but to reflect on how it went down. My year. My year of being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer.

September 28, 2010:  The mammogram. 5 years delayed because I was ignorant. 5 years delayed because I feared bringing a disease into the house that would upset the family. 5 years delayed because I decided I didn’t want to go to the doctor anymore. I wanted to be left alone. I paid dearly for my stupidity. The mammogram showed a 2 cm suspicious mass in my left breast. I was hurried from the test to the consultation room. The radiologist with his nurse beside him. I was fixated on the pristine, white folder the compassionate looking nurse was holding. “You have a suspicious mass”, he said. That was all I could handle hearing. I got very angry after those words were spoken and hung my head down. “We are going to get you into the pipeline right away”….blah, blah, blah. “Surgeon….biopsy”….blah, blah. The visual came immediately of me in an actual pipeline, women in front, women behind me. I thought, women do not belong in a pipeline, oil does, natural gas does, not women! What a cruel analogy for entering into the world of diagnosing a suspicious mass. The nurse handed me the pristine white folder. I was on my feet by then, ready to run, fast. I was rude to her as she handed the folder to me. “What’s this?” “My breast cancer folder?”, I said.  She smiled and said that it was just some information and her card was in there. I held the folder like it was an open-mouthed snake ready to bite me and fill my veins with poisonous venom. Exit. Quickly.

It was a sunny day and as I went through the glass doors into the parking lot, my knees almost buckled. I yelled and swore and had a brief tantrum. Waving the folder around wanting to tear it to shreds. Thinking about going into the pipeline, and wondering if I would ever come out. Pipeline indeed. Expletive. Expletive.

Once I regained my composure and began acting like an adult again, I realized how damn grateful I was for that pipeline. Thankful that it did exist. There would be many stops during my time in the pipeline. Many excellent doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians an entire team of professionals were waiting for me in that pipeline to help me battle this disease. I would not have to do it alone.

It’s been a year. A long, hard year of days and minutes and seconds. It’s been a year of sharing bad news, worse news, hopeful news, good news. It’s been a year of realizing how strong I am. How strong my mind is. How strong the love for my children is. How strong their love for me is. It’s been a year of being swept away, into that pipeline and coming out……the other side……intact and hopeful.

September 29, 2011

Coventry CT

  1. How did I miss this? A tough year for you for sure, but you made it! I love your energy and spirit. I also love that you are so there for others in need even when you were not feeling well yourself. Thank you for all of the times you were there for me. xo

    • It sure a was a year of hard work, but staying involved with my friends, like you Mary, is what kept me going. All of my friends, including yourself, went over and above with words of support and encouragement and that is something special. I never felt alone for a minute, with all of you so close by. Anything that I can help with, I will glady try. Thank you so much!

  2. dani says:

    you knew you were strong. i knew you were strong. i wish that no one on earth needed to BE strong, but that’s not life. what i didn’t think about at the time {but i should have knowing you, my bestie} is that you make strong beautiful! ♥ inside and outside, good times and hard times ~ not a day goes by when the beauty of your heart and soul don’t shine out. thank you for sharing your journey with us. ♥ i love you, bunny ♥ *giant glittery super squishy hugs*

  3. terrepruitt says:

    Wow! I am sorry that you had to go through this. I love your attitude. I have always believe attitude is a huge part of healing/health. Although you’ve had days/times/moments of lows, I am betting that your strength and attitude got you as far as you are — which is really far.

    I just love that last paragraph. I’ve read it three times already.

    Here’s to many more years of seeing all that strength! 🙂

  4. Penny Vogt says:

    You Go Joanne! You are one of the reasons I will walk in my third Breast Cancer Walk on October 16th. You are the hero – for all you’ve gone through! Keep on going!!

  5. Lynnette says:

    My friend had breast cancer, I told her she was brave, she said she wasn’t as she had no choice in having cancer. This is true but your words are brave & honest. Your tweets are like little darts of light sometimes & I admire your outlook. Keep smiling, keep tweeting & I wish you love & good health always x x

  6. j says:

    Beautiful! Not the diagnosis, of course, but you, strong, determined, optimistic. I know there have been many times during the course of this year where you haven’t felt like you were any of those things, but look at you. Rocking my blog world, darlin’! xox

    • You’re right j. I hit sub-rock bottom many times. The on line community of support from loving friends like yourself, the tweets, the messages kept me going when I wanted to stop and give up. My lifestyle keeps me on my toes. If I don’t stay optomistic, then neither does my family. They rely on me to maintain the life we have and I refuse to let them down. Nobody knows for sure what the future holds. I followed all the rules and will continue to be diligent with my health and encourage others to do so too. Thank you!!! xoxoxox

  7. Linda says:

    So happy for you sis and so glad you are able to share your story in a way that comforts and encourages so many people including me! You have a way with the words Sis! Love you now and forever!

    • Thanks Sis. You know first hand how hard it was. I came to you when I was all out of will to keep going. You helped me and we laughed at very inappropriate things. It is a horrible disease that effects too many women and men. My story shares the fact that you can get through it. Love you!

  8. You have climbed Mt. Everest…reached the summit…I am proud to celebrate your accomplishment with you!

    December 16, will be my 3 years for me!

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