Well guys, I guess one can only go so long without being open about something that can be obvious. Something like hair loss, something like chemotherapy. July 6th of this year I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Breast Cancer. My cancer is grade three (an aggressive form) and tomorrow marks my second round of chemotherapy.
“Jessica, you have a diagnosis and a plan of treatment ALREADY in action.” This is the thought that overpowers any worry, any negativity. For now at least. I remind my loved ones of this because like the saying goes “a facial expression is worth a thousand words.” I am so humbled to be living during a time where medicine can save lives, including my own.
Most importantly, I am so humbled for my past and my many years of battling a different kind of demon- the mental health demon. To those of you who know me, you know I will ALWAYS remain open about my past struggles with an eating disorder, with depression, along with my past and current mental battle with generalized anxiety disorder. Up until July 6th many mental health professionals wanted to know the “why’s” and causes to what “started” my eating disorder.
I have the answer now.
Those preteen years, those teenage years, those young adult years of living with a mind consumed with nothing but self-loath and darkness prepared me mentally and emotionally for having breast cancer at the sweet ripe age of twenty-five. When I reflect back on those years, it still seems surreal where I am today compared to where I was then. Hell, I didn’t even think I’d be alive to make it to graduation. It may be the reason I am still in school, but I don’t regret a thing and I will see this finish line this year, proudly. Today, I view life as a beautiful roller coaster and I am thankful everyday to be present.
Friday night I attended the very popular Edison Park Fest… with a wig. I ran into some people from high school. Naturally, my anxious brain immediately jumped to “OMG they saw on social media that I had short hair. Now I have long hair. THEY MUST KNOW I HAVE CANCER.” That thought… entirely opposite of when I went to one of many doctor appointments this past week just wearing a baseball cap. A girl not much older than me had such a sad, sympathetic look on her face when she made eye-contact with me; with me, the young girl with breast cancer. After two days of wearing the wig (I named her Barbara if you were curious) I can say it is NOT for summer. Summer is already the bane of my existence, and adding that wig raises my body heat to the level of red face, pacing body, non-stop saying “it’s so hot,” type of body temperature. So I can either wear Barb out and be miserably hot, or wear hats and people look at me like I have cancer. So why the hell not? Why the hell not be anything but open about my diagnosis? Why add more anxiety? Why keep it on my chest? LOL boob jokes are a constant thing now by the way. Boob jokes between fellow patients because some loved ones don’t find it as funny. Yet. SHOUT OUT TO MY GIRL GRACE. A beautiful thirty-six year old mother, that I met during my first week of treatment. You are amazing, and I am so lucky to have met you. Humor, weird weird humor is the solution to keeping me going with a smile. Naps too. Anyways, I was planning on keeping this a secret. With more time and thought I know I can take advantage of being diagnosed so young to raise awareness. Not to scare anyone! To change the stigma that breast cancer only happens later in life.
Lastly-feel free to call me “El” from Stranger Things. I mean, what twenty-five year old doesn’t want to be a twelve year old, fictional character?
Thank you to all of my loved ones, and everyone who has reached out to make all of this so much easier. I love you all.
I will attach a link for anyone who is willing to donate to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The money raised goes directly to The American Cancer Society. Donate here
If you would like to join us on the walk, shoot me a message :]
Keep on keeping on you beauties ❤