Cancer – Denial is Not My Constant State of Mind. Wait – Yes it is.

cancer-sucks So…….yeah. I have breast cancer. I’ve been putting off writing an actual blog post about it. Hi. My name is Kristina. I have breast cancer. It seems so awkward. Not as awkward as running into people you know who ask you “How’s life treating you?” Or talking to men who do everything they can possibly do to make sure you know that they are not looking at your rack while breast cancer talk is going on. But still awkward.

It’s also difficult to write about this because I am so numb. My wall of denial is built five cement blocks thick. I know that’s a good thing right now. My body is protecting me from being overwhelmed. But I’ve been numb since January. It’s not a fun place to exist.

I had my biopsy done two Thursdays ago. I’m not even going to tell you about the amount of medication it took to put me in a state where I wasn’t going to hyper-ventilate and pass out. My husband & Mom were amazed I was still coherent, but then again my husband goes into a semi-coma if he takes a Benedryl.


The nurse took more mammogram pictures. I think my boob has had more pictures taken of it than Paris Hilton’s commando crotch. Getting this biopsy done was very strange. It’s like a massage table except it’s a lot more uncomfortable, and your boobs go through the hole, and they clamp it down so it can’t move. I had asked earlier and gotten permission to listen to my ipod while this all went down. I hope it delights my friend, Genie, that I now have a biopsy mix. My husband thinks it all kinds of messed up that “Girlfriend in a Coma” by the Smiths is on there, but The Smiths always put me in a good mood.

The first needle hurt a little, but the rest didn’t. At one point I felt pain, so more local anesthetic was used. Thankfully, the horse tranquilizers I took kept my anxiety of having large needles rummaging around in my breast to a manageable level. I have two pretty sizable slits cut into my skin, so I’ve had to keep them well bandaged. For a while I had to make sure to go in for a left sided hug so as not to smash Colleen (this is my boob that has cancer. Deirdre is so far ok). My boob has finally healed to the point where it doesn’t look like a mentally addled vampire bit me. My husband says it now just looks like a kitten gnawed on me for a little bit.

vampire cancer

I was told I’d get my results on Friday between 4-5pm. Marcus and I went over to my parents to wait for the news. At one point my mom insisted I take a Xanax. I’m not going to lie to you. In my heart, I already knew it was cancer. I think that after the year my husband and I have had that being all optimistic wasn’t very realistic. I got the call and heard the “Kristina, I’m really sorry to tell you this….” and looked over at Marcus and my Mom and mouthed “I have cancer”. Marcus cried. My mom cried. I was numb. I listened to the information and passed the phone over to my Mom. Then I went into the kitchen and poured myself some bourbon. I did not cry.

My dad had taken my little sister, Ally, out for a drive. Ally’s syndrome tends to make her ask a million questions when she’s anxious. Both my parents understood that I was not ready for a “Sissy – are you going to die?” barrage. My mom called my dad and his initial reply was “God damn it”. Then Ally started in on the questions with him, and he snapped at her because he was so upset and scared. He apologized to Ally and told her that he was just very worried about me. Ally’s reply? “Daddy – me too! I’m worried sick about Sissy”.


They came home. We all hugged. It felt surreal. 23 years ago, Ally was born prematurely and in fetal distress. She was in the neonatal intensive care unit and was very unresponsive. When our jackass of a priest wouldn’t come and baptize her, people from a local church reached out to us and came and prayed around her. I remember the moment like it’s a movie in my head. I was 16 and holding hands in prayer around my sister’s incubator unit. I remember saying in my head “God – you know what? I think you’re full of shit. I think you don’t exist and this is all bullshit. If you actually do, you better do something right the fuck now”. This going to sound so Pat Robertsonish (but without the blaming it on the gays part), but I felt a sense of peace. On Easter Sunday, my little sister stayed awake for two hours, got to put on an adorable dress and interacted with us. I still get tears when I think about it. It’s why I believe when I don’t want to. It’s why I’m willing to wrestle with my faith.

I think it’s pretty fucked up that 23 years later, I found out I had cancer on “Good” Friday.


I have two areas of cancer. One is an actual tumor that has grown outside the duct. It appears to be slow growing. The other area is a large area of precancerous cells that all need to be removed. There’s a lot more specific information that is a haze to me. I glanced through my pathology report, but luckily I have my mom (retired nurse who has had two episodes of breast cancer), Marcus and friends who can explain these things to me when I’m ready to face the facts. I should be in the TNCare state insurance system soon. I’m glad this is the one time that sexism works for me, but I’m furious that people with other kinds of cancer aren’t covered. I’ve got an appointment set up with a surgeon. I’ve got an MRI to schedule along with some other tests. I know what oncologist I’ll be going to.

I really want to cry about this – full-on, snotty ugly crying. I can’t. I can only get teary and choked up. This has only happened a few times. First when I realized that Mira, my comfort cat, wouldn’t be here to snuggle with me and help me through this. I cried again on April Fools Day because that was the day when Marcus and I were going to start trying to have a baby. This mammogram was supposed to be a check-mark on a checklist. I get a bit weepy in church. And I’m crying right now because I’m thinking about April.


I’m going to give you some tips about what not to do to someone who’s been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. A lot of these things can be examples of things not to say to people who have just lost a loved one.

Please don’t tell me I’m lucky because my cancer is in an early stage or because right now it’s not anticipated that I’ll have to go through chemotherapy. I do not feel blessed or grateful for that. I’m relieved, but there is never anything lucky about cancer scares or cancer.

Please don’t tell me how cancer is going to make me stronger, or make me learn so much about myself or will end up being the best thing that ever happened to me. I will stare at you, say “Bless your heart” and walk away. Other women who have had cancer will overhear you saying this and come up to me and say “Please just ignore that bullshit”. And if I’m feeling really bitchy, I might just throw out a “Cancer – it’s just the gift that keeps on giving”.


Please don’t assume that my cancerland experience or feelings about it are the same as yours. If you got through it with your faith never wavering, good for you. If you sustained yourself through the experience by imagining yourself as a cancer ass-kicking machine and that worked for you, I’m really glad it brought you comfort. If pink ribbons made you feel better, rock on. I want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that how you got through it is what you needed to do, and I’m so glad it helped. It’s just probably not going to be my way I deal with it.


Here’s how I feel: right now, I’m not interested in being a warrior against cancer. I’m not interested in being inspirational with my positive attitude. I’m not interested in kicking cancer’s ass. I’m not interested in being a survivor or fighting my cancer. This bothers me because it implies that the people who didn’t make it didn’t fight hard enough. Our friend, April, fought it to the end. She was brave and courageous and fought it. She didn’t die because she didn’t fight hard enough. She died because cancer is a heartless, ruthless bastard.

Quote from a post I wrote about her:
In this country, we love our David and Goliath stories. We love to hear about people overcoming all odds, fighting through every obstacle in their path. But sometimes we need to be reminded that no matter how hard we try or how hard we fight, we can’t win. We don’t always get our fairy tale endings – no matter how much we want them. We want to hear the Chicken Soup for the Soul version of cancer, and we tend to forget that life is rarely that black or white. No one fought harder than April and her family, and no one deserved a happy ending more than them. This is a real story with an ending that no one wanted, but it’s the ending that we got.

Another tip, please don’t insinuate that I don’t know how to eat healthy or live a healthy life. I’ve been eating organic from our family garden since I was born. I belong to a CSA that is organic, and I bet I eat a shit ton more vegetables than you do. I do yoga on a regular basis. Up until recently, I’ve been what I call a cynical optimist. I will blow sunshine up your ass, but I’m completely willing to make fun of it while I’m in the process. I don’t think my diet, my amount of exercise, my lack of optimism caused my cancer. I want to make it clear that I realize that many of you who have said these things meant them with the best of intentions. Thank you for caring. I also understand that it makes you feel safer – that if you follow the rules, it won’t happen to you. But it’s not helpful to me. I found out from a friend about a man who runs and is a vegan. He’s suffering from stomach cancer. Granted – there are things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. But you know what? You still might get cancer. It’s an asshole.

homosexuality cancer

I also am not interested in anecdotal stories about the way a friend of a friend was cured of cancer. I’m thrilled that your friend cured her cancer when she sacrificed a woodchuck under the solstice moon while burning sage and dancing naked around a drum circle. I’m glad your sister’s hairstylist’s niece cured her cancer because she went on a macrobiotic diet and took up sky-diving. I’m going to make my medical and scientific friends happy with this statement: Correlation is not causation. If something helped you, and you can tell me about it in a non-judgmental manner, let me know. But also know that I may not take your advice.

You know how I’m going to get through this? Here’s how: Long hugs from friends. My loved ones telling me they love me. Knowing that people of many different faiths and creeds are praying, sending me good juju or lighting candles for me. Thank you. Colleen says thank you too. I’m going to get through this by swallowing my pride and letting people help me. I’m really awful at this, but I’m going to really try hard to knock it off. I’m going to get through this because of the people who give me hugs and say things like “I am so sorry. This sucks”. I’m going to get through this because I have friends who are honest enough to tell me that they don’t know what to say. I’m going to get through this because my mom and dad love me so much that it makes me cry. I’m going to get through this because I’m married to a man who will do everything he can to help me and support me. I’m going to get through this with my cancer fighting manatee. Flowers from the best friends that a girl could ask for. I’m going to get through this because there are two options, I do or I don’t. I do.



To my credit, I do plan to bring a lot of offensive jokes to the table. I’m already telling Marcus I can’t do things around the house because I have cancer. I like to think that my tasteless jokes will be my contribution to fighting cancer. I want to make cancer feel very insecure and bullied. I want to hurt cancer’s feelings. Every time I say the word twatwaffle, I want cancer to feel like it can’t sit at the cool kid’s table.


And because I want to make sure to offend as many people as possible before I’m too depressed or exhausted to give it my all, here you go:

Thank you all for the prayers, the love, the encouragement. It’s meant so much to me. You guys are an amazing blend of snark, compassion, and love. I couldn’t ask for better blog commenters.

Today, I got a card from a woman from the church we just joined. I love this church. As I read this card, I got weepy. Then, I got to the end. It said “Fight like a Girl”. You know what? I’m going to get through this. It will suck, but I’ll press on. And when times get tough? I’ll fight like a girl.


To end this post – I will say that I got a lump in my throat when I made ‘cancer’ a category on my blog. I want people to easily find these posts in the hope that whatever ramblings I’ve posted might help them or at least make them smile. But I hated adding it.

48 Comments on Cancer – Denial is Not My Constant State of Mind. Wait – Yes it is.

  1. Genie
    April 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Playlists for the win, my friend. And as I said on Saturday night, even if The Smiths make an appearance on it, it could be worse…you could have set up a shuffle rotation of *Elliott* Smith songs or something.

    Cheering for you. Every damn day.

    • blahblahblah
      April 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm (2 years ago)

      Save the whole woman, indeed. xxx

    • Kristina
      April 14, 2013 at 9:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Elliott Smith? Never. Thanks lady. I’m pretty sure there are moments when I can actually feel you cheering me on. It’s usually when I’m drinking bourbon.

  2. Stacy
    April 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm (2 years ago)

    This whole post choked me up. I just want to say, cancer sucks. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Also, I’ll be one of the ones praying for you and sending you good juju. All the way around the world from Dubai. I’m betting we’ve got you covered, prayer-wise, all over this big world. Keeping on fighting like a girl!

    • Kristina
      April 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Hooray! Dubai! That’s so impressive. I want a map to color in so I know which countries have people praying for my boobs! And thank you – you’re very sweet. The prayers and good juju are very much appreciated.

  3. Anita
    April 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm (2 years ago)

    I am sending you (and Colleen, and Marcus) gentle left-side hugs and a metric pantload of love from over here. I wish I could bring you casseroles…

    • Kristina
      April 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Me too, lady. Me too.

  4. Michael Procopio
    April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm (2 years ago)

    I love “Fight Like A Girl”. I do it all the time.


    • Kristina
      April 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm (2 years ago)

      If you do this while wearing a pink cape, I must witness this in person. I’ll bring the glitter.

  5. Habanerogal
    April 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm (2 years ago)

    Even though we just mess around on the twitter and such I want to send real hugs and huge Bengal cat hugs from my world to yours. Be as snarky as you need to be and trust me whatever makes you feel stronger just keep doing it. And fuck cancer

    • Kristina
      April 14, 2013 at 11:19 pm (2 years ago)

      I plan to mock cancer like it’s never been mocked before. 7th grade mean girls will have nothing on the way I plan to torment cancer. Thanks for the hugs – both furred and unfurred.

    • Kristina
      April 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m sorry I’m just getting around to replying. That post? It made my day.

  6. Ann Whitten
    April 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Glad to hear from you Kristina,

    Thought I would share this. I have a picture with a famous female volleyball player in it. It says ” She walks like a girls, she talks like a girl, she serves 60 miles per hour in your face like a girl.” It was given to me by my General Manager several years ago. Guess he thought I was one tough bitch…He was right

    My Best

    • Kristina
      April 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Ann – I’m sorry I’m so late in replying to you. It’s funny how all the other “fight” platitudes don’t resonate with me at all, yet this one does. I love tough bitches. They’re the best.

  7. Mellissa
    April 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m so sorry. I hate that you had to add “cancer” to your tags too. But we know that it doesn’t define you – as a blogger or a person. It’s just something (really sucky) that happened to you. I hope that someday you will see cancer in your rearview mirror (after you run that S.O.B. over!) and you’ll be able to add “cancer survivor” to your tags as well. You can include my thoughts and prayers on what appears to be a very long list of people who are pulling for you (and poor kitten chew toy, Colleen). XO

  8. Kendra Bailey Morris
    April 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Lots of thoughts and prayers headed your way from Virginia. Wish I could Fed-Ex you a casserole, too, or one of my mom’s buttermilk chocolate spice cakes. Hugs.


  9. marisa miller
    April 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Some of us have done the full-on snotty ugly cry for you, so you’re covered until you’re ready. Anonymous care package on it’s way. xoxoxoxo

  10. Heidi
    April 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm (2 years ago)

    So much shit is on you in the moment and this year seems to be a hard one for your soul. Interesting: you teached me something very important with this post: never to think that others have the same strength like me. It’s a bit that I didn’t understand that really. Keep on, fighter! Big hug …

  11. LeLo
    April 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm (2 years ago)

    I look forward to a future post and recipe for Twatwaffle. I can only imagine what goes into one. And I’m going to ignore everything else in this post because cancer can go fuck itself.

    Hang in there bad ass.

  12. Winnie
    April 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm (2 years ago)

    You nailed it with this awesome post, but I am so sorry you had to write it. Big time virtual love and hugs to you.

  13. Sherri
    April 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm (2 years ago)

    So sorry to hear these results of your biopsy. Cancer really does suck. I’ve said that a lot the last 6 months as my husband was diagnosed & had surgery for prostate cancer, which my dad had died of less than 2 years ago. It really does suck.
    I’ll continue to have you in my thoughts & prayers.

  14. Rebecca
    April 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Your post hit home hard, not so much because you have cancer (although that totally bites), but because I know now that I did everything wrong for my mom when she was diagnosed and going through treatment. I quoted survival rates every time I saw her, nagged her to join a support group, and pretty much bossed her as much as possible into doing things the “right” way. Well, dammit, she did whatever the hell she wanted to do. Next time I see her, I’m going to apologize for trying to run her life during a trying time. The bottom line is, surround yourself with family and friends and screw what anyone else says. You’re a fighter; you’ll figure it out.

  15. Sara @ Pidge's Pantry
    April 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm (2 years ago)

    I know you don’t know me, but I’m a big fan of your blog and your honesty. This sucks. You will be in my prayers and virtual hugs will be in a steady stream! You can do this and we are behind you.

  16. Kitchen Ninja (Julianne)
    April 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm (2 years ago)

    Keep fighting and know I’m thinking of you (yeah, which I’m sure means a lot, since we don’t know each other, but hey, I’ll still think of you — and your manatee.)

  17. Mary
    April 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi saw Genie’s FB post in response to your blog. You’re not alone. Cancer sucks. It may not be your thing, but if ever you want to browse around or check out, please do. It’s social network only for women facing breast cancer (and those who ‘beat it’ but may be living with the fear of recurrence). You look under 40 your picture. There are over 350 women on our site under 40 with breast cancer. They’re there and willing to answer any question, or hear any venting. Hope you continue to surround yourself with all those who provide strength.

  18. Sharon H Miro
    April 8, 2013 at 2:21 pm (2 years ago)

    I had that big snotty cry for all of us. Cancer does suck.

  19. Rene
    April 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm (2 years ago)

    I started to write a story about my own story with breast cancer and wasn’t sure if now was the time for that. Just know that I too was in denial (still am a little bit even 4 1/2 years later) and that like you, didn’t cry many tears. Fear was the main theme in my story until a visit to the plastic surgeon. I left that doctor’s office laughing and from that moment on I told more “boob” jokes than I care to mention. Laughter helped. Tell the jokes, do whatever you have to do to get through it. I will pray for you and wish you a speedy recovery.

  20. Lauren Yarbrough
    April 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Sending prayers and hugs from Brooklyn! You got this, girl!

  21. Alicia (foodycat)
    April 8, 2013 at 3:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Aiming to start trying for a baby on April Fool’s Day? That’s hilarious. Looking forward to many, many jokes in poor taste from you.

  22. Califmom
    April 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm (2 years ago)

    Cancer is a colossal asshole, and I’m sorry you have to deal with it. I have to say, I do like your attitude.

  23. Jennifer
    April 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm (2 years ago)

    I was really hoping that your next post would contain words like benign and false alarm. This sucks. Cancer sucks. Go kick it in the ass.

  24. Sarah | The Cyclist's Wife
    April 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for writing such an honest, funny and REAL post. There is nothing to say other than the news you got sucks and I’m sorry. Even though I am just a stranger from blogland (well, CA) please know I am one of a whole bunch of people thinking of you. If I was closer I’d bake you cookies.

  25. merry jennifer
    April 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm (2 years ago)

    You would be one of my favorite patients, if I were your oncologist. Just so you know.

    Cancer sucks. It doesn’t play by the rules, and it makes me question MY faith. I’m so, so sorry. I’m sending you and the girls – Colleen and Deirdre – many hugs. Also, I’m thinking of your husband and your parents – because it sucks for them too. Group hug.

  26. The Modern Gal
    April 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Lots and lots of hugs and love and prayers for you, my friend. I hate the notion of fighting cancer too. You really don’t fight it. You go through the treatments that are offered to you and hope for the best.

  27. Lexi
    April 9, 2013 at 12:21 am (2 years ago)

    All I have to say is …I think you rock! Also cancer sucks and I’m sorry your going through it! I don’t even know you but ill be praying for you and hoping that you kick cancers ass cause I know it fucking sucks!!!!

  28. robynski
    April 9, 2013 at 12:43 am (2 years ago)

    I hate that you had to add that category. I hate that you have cancer. I can pray and I will pray. And hugs through the air are always on standby for you. Every now and then tell Marcus that you need a hug from me and I’ll bet he’ll agree and hug you hard for me.

    I planted tomato seeds from our tomatoes you sent me last year. In July when the wind has ripped every stinking one of the tomatoes off the bush, know I’ll still need a hug from you too.

    Frack! Just got the error note saying my comment was possibly too short. Whadda you want? A novel, WordPress?!

  29. Deborah White
    April 9, 2013 at 9:47 am (2 years ago)

    I have been thinking of you and looking for your blog post. With each day that no post appeared… I knew. I knew and hoped I was wrong. And I’m so sad that this is happening to you. To anyone.

  30. Kathleen
    April 9, 2013 at 3:50 pm (2 years ago)

    I can relate to the “Good Friday” concept, that is the day I had my breast biopsy. Found out on 4/2/13 it was positive. What a concept, positive is usually a good thing except in cancer diagnosis. I don ‘t wear pink, but when I play sled hockey I have pink all over my sled, my sticks and my shoes. I Since I am the only gal on the team, pink just seems natural. Also, it aggravates some of the hockey tradionalists, so I add more pink. I guess now I will add one of those ribbons to my sled but I don’t like Komen either. Good luck in your journey with this all together absolutely crappy disease!

  31. Kristen
    April 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Ugh – I hate to read this. I wondered what was going on when I saw a couple things on facebook. This sucks. I’m sorry :(

  32. Tanaz
    April 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I am so sorry. I think it sucks to high heaven. It’s kind of weird that you were mentioning people who do everything right and still got cancer. Every time I have had the second diagnostic mammograms, I sit in the waiting room, contemplating who will be raising my children, because I see it as a done deal, with me definitely dying almost instantaneously from the cancer. In those long sometimes hours, I blame myself for not eating healthier, even though I eat more vegies and salad than most vegetarians, for not exercising, because after all that’s supposed to be the preventative above all preventative, and etc. When I tell my husband that he is even more convinced that I am crazy.
    I am thinking of you.

  33. Paula
    April 11, 2013 at 12:43 am (2 years ago)

    I’m glad to hear that you are going to get insurance-type help, and I’m glad that if you had to have it, at least you were born in a time where something can actually be done about it, and I’m glad you’re not of some faith that is going to forego our God-given medical advances and do something stupid like rely completely on prayer. I’m also glad that you have a good and loving support group to help you through this and I’m also glad that you have well wishers and prayers from all over the world.

    But I am very sorry that you have to deal with it at all. Go kick its twatwaffle ass.

  34. Heather in Oregon
    April 11, 2013 at 10:48 am (2 years ago)

    Double fuck cancer. It can kiss our collective ass. Big, big, thumping hugs to you.

  35. The Nuke Queen
    April 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm (2 years ago)

    All I’m going to say is – 2 things – love the blog – laughed/cried at the same time…second thing is – Put your big girl panties on and suck it up….this has been my motto the last year – I’m nearly done – 6 months of chemo – tick; mastectomy & reconstruction – tick; radiation – only 8 more to go – then tick….

  36. Laura
    April 12, 2013 at 12:39 am (2 years ago)

    I cannot believe anyone would have the nerve to blame your diet to your face, no matter what you have eaten. Unfortunately I believe the rest of them because I heard variations of them all too. Sometimes people are clueless. Actually, people are often clueless in this situation, I know I am, I want to hug you in person and without that comfort I don’t know a lot of what to say, but anyway some people are insensitively clueless might be the better way to put it.


    April 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm (2 years ago)

    cancer sucks – i really don’t know what to say other than i’m truly sorry you’re going thru this, truly sorry ANYONE has to go thru this. and yeah, fight like a girl Kristina – have a big snotty cry and fight like a girl again. sending you thoughts, prayers, love and support from Indiana

  38. Colleen (not the boob)
    April 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m not sure how to feel about having a cancerous boob named after me. But I still love you and am raging against the cancer machine with you in spirit.


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