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May 01

The Longest Year

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Today, May 1st marks the one-year anniversary of the day I heard “Christine, I’m sorry it came back positive for cancer.” Today, I’m finding myself super emotional. Well really I’ve been pretty emotional the last few weeks thinking about this day and how quickly it has approached. I see so many people online in my support groups celebrating another year from their diagnosis. I cant find anything to celebrate. I’m an emotional wreck over it. I don’t get how a full year has already gone by. Statistically, I will be dead in 2 years. Why would I celebrate that? I feel like the clock is ticking and I am running out of time. One year just reminds me of the grim statistic of what metastatic cancer is. And now with the knowledge of the cancer spreading to my brain, statistically I shouldn’t even have those 2 years. A brain metastasis diagnosis usually cuts that time in half. So do I really only have another year? God I hope not. I sure as hell am not going to be done doing all I need to do in one year. I need much more time, like 30 years, fuck I’d even take 5 years right now.

Recently, my MBC support group lost 3 women in one weekend. The oldest was 34 years old. They all were fine according to their Facebook pages not even a month ago – and then Bam, like that they are gone. How the hell does that happen? Will that be me? Right now I feel fine and fabulous (well as fabulous as one going through weekly chemo can feel) but could I be dead next month out of nowhere? That scares the living shit out of me. But unfortunately, that’s the reality of this disease.

So let’s go back to May 1, 2014. I was getting ready to head to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow for my best friend Liz’s bachelorette party. I had yet to pack because all I could think about was the result of my biopsy. When was my doctor going to call? I had taken the whole week off from work because mentally I couldn’t cope with the not knowing the results. I couldn’t focus on anything else but the biopsy. Finally, on May 1st at 4:30 PM I called my doctor. There was no way I could go on vacation without knowing the results. The receptionist told me the results were in but she could not discuss them with me and the doctor would call me back in a few minutes. That few minutes were the longest minutes of my life. I knew it wasn’t good news. It’s weird how you just know. The whole week as much as I wanted to remain positive, I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach and knew it wasn’t going to be good. It’s amazing how your gut is always right. In this instance, I sure wished it wasn’t. I remember once she said the words, I lost it. Tears just started streaming down my face. I couldn’t control them. It was an automatic response that just came as soon as I heard cancer. I knew it was coming but it was still so shocking. You can’t prepare yourself for a cancer diagnosis no matter how hard you try. I also can’t even explain how you feel when you hear it. It’s almost like an out of body experience I was having. Tears were streaming down my face and I knew it was news about me, but I also felt like I was on the outside watching this happen to someone else. I was able to compose myself enough to carry on a 10 minute conversation with her to discuss next steps and when I hung up, I looked at Chris and I crumbled in his arms in the driveway of 98 Spring Street.

My parents were in Palm Springs and knew what was going on and waiting the results like we were. I dreaded making the phone call. I didn’t want to tell them. So first we called Chris’ mom and told her the news. She immediately rushed over to our house. Jolene was also one of the first people I called and she was at the house within 10 minutes. After talking with them for a few minutes I got the courage to call my parents. My mom didn’t answer. I was relieved but realized I couldn’t just let it go. So I called my dad. He was out on the golf course with all his friends and I was about to ruin his day. As soon as I told him all he could say was “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck.” That is honestly all I remember of our conversation, was his obsessive use of the word Fuck because that’s all I could think about saying too. I mean what else is there to say but curse words when you hear this? My mom then called back. She was at lunch with all the girls. I broke the news and she lost it. She ended up passing the phone to her friend Connie who is a breast cancer survivor. She was so encouraging and so supportive. It was a huge relief to know my mom was surrounded by such an amazing group of friends to help her deal with the news. After the news was told, I headed back inside to partake in some serious drinking. Kelly & Erin came over to show their support next. I started chugging whiskey. I don’t think I had ever even tried whiskey before but Maker’s Mark became my new best friend that night. Pat came straight from work and we continued our drinking fest. All of Chris’ other siblings called/texted to show his/her support and make sure we were OK. I cannot express how thankful I am to have such an amazing, supportive family (Jolene and all my other friends included). With my parents away, it was great to have all these people rush to mine and Chris’ side. We made the decision that night that I would still go to Fort Lauderdale as planned. A weekend away with my best friends would be the best medicine. Breaking the news to them, not the best, but at least I could get it all out in one talk. So off I went – hungover as hell!

It’s crazy to think that was only a year ago. It’s hard to remember my life before cancer now. As much as I don’t want it to consume my life it’s pretty hard not to. I am at Dana Farber every single week for chemo so it’s hard to pretend cancer isn’t my life. I am still living life as I did before, maybe even a little more now. For instance, I am traveling nonstop lately. Chris & I got to spend a week in the Keys with his brother and sister-in-law. Right after that we spent a weekend in Philly for a Metastatic Breast Cancer conference. I just got back from a girls trip to Nashville to celebrate Chris’s sister Kara’s 40th birthday. And this Sunday, Chris & I leave for St. John for the week for a trip we won through Little Pink Houses of Hope. So I would say, it has been a pretty good few months for me. I’m seeing and doing things I’ve never done and it has been great. Even if the clock is ticking and my time is coming, I continue to plan for the future and check things and sights off my bucket list. I mean You Only Live Once, right?

Xoxo,
Chrissy

9 comments

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  1. Connie

    Chrissy I cannot believe how brave you are…Just know that you have many friends here in Ca. that think of you every day and are praying for that miracle of healing. Your positive attitude is soooo important – We are all waiting to see you in October. Love to you and Chris and a big hug for your wonderful Mom and Dad.

  2. L.E. Laperchia

    The tears are flowing but I am overwhelmed by your strength and honesty. Travel, have fun and take one day at a time. You are an inspiration to all that know and love you, especially me.

  3. Cindy Sindoni-Cagnina

    Chrissy, there are no words. Know that I think of you often.

  4. Maureen Nardone

    Chrissy, Your strength is so inspirational! So glad you are taking every opportunity to travel and enjoy yourself. How lucky are you to be surrounded by such an outstanding group of family and friends? We are the lucky ones!! Seeing all your travel pictures with your Beautiful Smile makes our days bright. Keep on dancing Little Ballerina, it is an honor to know you! Praying hard, hoping for a cure. Love you, Moe xxoo

  5. Brett Devenney

    I’ve never met you in person, but through your mom I feel as though I know you through your posts. I think about you often, and tell others about your spirit., I prey for you, and send positive thoughts your way. LIve long and happy. Brett

  6. Kathy Lawler

    We’ve all heard that life isn’t fair but you bring new meaning to that phrase. You are truly one of the nicest and strongest people I’ve ever met and I just don’t understand! Even though I didn’t know you very long before you stopped working there hasn’t been a day that you’re not in my thoughts and prayers. People in Radnor ask about you often and I tell them how strong and amazing you are! I wish there was something I could do to help.

  7. Kara

    I love you so much. I refuse to think about a world without you in it. You have changed my life and I love you for it! Thank you for spreading your message. I cherish our time together.

  8. Janet Fields

    I am writing this in between my tears, you are a very strong woman and have been so positive this last year and we all are hoping you do get 30 more years because if we didn’t think that way then we would be letting you down because I believe with all my heart that miracles do happen and you could be one of this miracles – continue to stay true to yourself and continue to travel as much as you can while you still feel well, you have an army of support behind you and you are so fortunate to have so many people on your side rooting for you! Love you so much, stay positive and push on! xoxo

  9. mary silvestro

    Chrissy ,thinking of you ALWAYS sending hugs your way xoxoxo

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