What a week

This past week was not my best. Not my worst, comparatively speaking but all in all, it was pretty terrible.

The work part of it started with almost getting fired, included some groveling to a major government funder, and ended with the rest of the exec team having “internet issues” that meant I was left minding the store. It was pretty rough all round.

My heart is also heavy with some family stuff and navigating that has been difficult. I’ve made some mistakes along the way and I am reminded of how much my illness causes pain for those close to me. I know when my dad was dealing with cancer, the pain of the experience, his pain, but also our pain, was intense and raw for me, my my mom and my sister. I see that rawness in the faces of those who love me and I’m absolutely gutted by that. Through no fault of my own, I’m causing a lot of people who love me to feel sad. It may not be my fault but it is impossible to not feel responsible.

And all of that was swirling around while I was dealing with my monthly MSK trip. I got my butt injections and had a great talk with my oncologist. I left the appointment feeling positive only to get actually walloped with sadness and anxiety when checking my blood markers later that day. They continue to tick up, not dramatically but steadily. My oncologist is not worried about them but the news absolutely wrecked me and I spent most of the evening crying on the couch. Thankfully, the next day I had an appointment with the amazing social worker from MSK who gave me a lot of support and some tough love. She told me I have to decide what kind of patient I want to be — the one who googles every little thing or relies on my doctor to do her job and tell me when I need to start to worry. I’m still new to this MBC game and I’m still figuring it out. She said there is nothing wrong with the latter, it does not mean that I can’t be an informed patient and ask questions and push for the best treatment but it might work better for me in light of my anxiety. I think for my own mental health, I need to be more of the latter. Informed, yes but there is such a thing as knowing TOO much. I have to walk that line because right now I know way too much and I am really struggling. And the bottom line is that I had a good…no, GREAT scan a month ago and I feel really good. I’m managing this stupid illness quite well, on the physical side. It does not mean bad news may not find its way to me one day. But I have to enjoy the now.

After crying a lot and doing a fair amount of wallowing over the past few days, I decided to buy tickets to see a Broadway show for today. I have not gone to a show in years — and I needed to DO something. With the cold weather and COVID, I was tempted to just spend the weekend, alone on the couch, crying when the mood struck and really leaning into the sadness. And cancer or not, that really is not how to live. Not for me.



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Michelle T

Sometimes funny lawyer-writer person battling breast cancer in NYC