GUEST BLOG POST: Molly Maher
This week's episode has me over the top excited. Things are a little different this week! We are sans Brian and Taylor because few weeks ago I flew to Maui to meet up with my friends Tonia, Molly, Garrett and Mark. Together we run this Surf camp for young adult cancer survivors. It's called Athletes For Cancer. If you have or had cancer and just wanna say "fuck it, I need a break from it all! I wanna go surfing" then definitely check them out! BUT back to the episode. While I was in Maui I had the pleasure renting some unfamiliar recording gear, sitting down on the beach and recording an episode with my dear friend Molly. She had breast Cancer. She makes me laugh and I hope you are able to laugh along with us! Check out her blog post below and listen to her episode over on iTunes!
February 10th 2010 at 10:58 AM I recieved the call .
" Your tests came back positive.You have breast cancer. Invasive blah blah merg bleeeh..." I stopped listeing at that point. I heard what I needed to hear . Breast Cancer . Maybe what I wasn't terribly suprised to hear. I finally did it. I broke myself.
"You'll need to make an appointment with a surgeon and an oncologist asap. We can recommend someone. " Me: " what the fuck is an oncoloy or oncolowhat? " Jeeze, can I just have a minute here to call work and tell them I'm going to be late? Does that even matter? Do I get a "personal day" for this? Should I cry? Do the pink ribbon people know yet? Is there like a bat signal that gets thrown up into the night sky in the shape of a ribbon?
I chose my surgeon based on her name, Bretsky. I said " I"ll go with Dr. Bretsky, becasue their name rhymes with Gretsky, and he was a great hockey player." I choose correctly. She is a brilliant doctor who happens to live across the street from my boyfriend's family. ( She also ended up doing surgery on his mother 4 years after me. )
" Molly, the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, you will have to have chemo", Ryan told me as I was coming to after my surgery to have the big ass cyst removed. My family sort of nodded to him, you do it, you tell her. Ryan and I had just celebrated our 2 year anniversary. We were planning a trip to Cuba , leaving in 10 days , when we agreed I should get "that thing on my chest " looked at. It had started as a small bump and had graduated to mound quickly. Because I didn't have health insurance and had been told I had lumpy breasts, oh and just cut back on the caffine, I wasn't in a hurry to have it checked out.
"Will she loose her hair? " asked my Dad with the same weight as " how long does she have to live?" Bretsky looked at us like really? That's the concern? I just cut out a tumor and saved your daughter's life, and you two are concerned with hair? Let's just say we were newbies as this cancer jam.
The ribbons did begin to pour in. The cards from strangers. Words like journey ( cue gagging), and gift, and hope. No, I refuse this all. Fuck the pink ribbons and angels. I will not accept this as a journey. This is not a gift or something I registered for at Bed, Bath and Beyond. ( btw you should TOTALLY be able to have gift registry at Bed, Bath and Beyond if you get cancer!) I'm angry because now it shows that I am human. My flaws are real and perhaps I am toxic. Perhaps all those years of depression have built up and whatever thoughts of suicide i ever had , are real and now my body is trying to kill me. I'm pissed because I'm pissed. People will see me as weak. I see me as weak.
But I did it. I went through it all. The whole dehumanizing process. I wore red cowgirl boots to every treatment. As I lost my hair and was put through early menopauseI actually became to feel more feminine and more at home with myself. Ryan stuck with me and loved me throughout it all. My band stuck with me letting me feel what I knew as normal as I played gigs in my "gig wig". Even though I thought I was being very private about my ordeal, maybe everyone knew what I was going through but didn't treat me as broken or weak. Because I learned our world is a reflection of us. People followed my lead.
And there was hope. It was a journey that I needed. A paradigm shift. There was a new normal. It was a gift that keeps on giving. I still resent the pink ribbons because there are so many cancers and illnesses out there that need ribbons and hope.
Stickyoy Podcast host, Jeremie asked me ( oh wait, what? It's called what? Sickboy? oohhh, I get it, yeah, that makes a lot more sense ) anyhoo, River as I know him , asked me what was the scariest part of having cancer. That would be my brother being diagnosed with cancer.
There's no great message to share here. I bring no great news back from the nether land that you are suspended in when you go through chemo. Just slow down. Be nice to others and to yourself. Eat good food. Breath in and breath out . And for me... be true to myself and keep writing that one song.
For screening and funding support check out the Sage Screening Program!