By Robyn Goldman
Adapted from social media posts originally shared on Robyn’s Instagram which were written as diary entries to herself and to her followers as she documented her experiences after being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer at 33 years old. This is part 3.
Day 93: January 21, 2022
Alex of Glow Up Wigs helped me with a wig and gave me some extra sparkle. I am overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. Through my tears you saw my hurt, but you managed to capture my beauty and energy. Alex, you are incredible at what you do. When I look in the mirror now, my smile is bigger. Cancer cannot take that from me. I continue to love and accept every version of myself, and you have given me confidence when I needed it the most.
I have my golden crown.
Day 104: February 1, 2022
Holy crap… I have cancer?
It doesn’t seem real sometimes, and I am still in shock. Like how? Why? In my head I scroll through these questions the same way I scroll for hours on social media. I know I’ll never get the answer I am looking for and even if I do, will it make a difference?
This journey has been nothing short of a challenge for me. I’m halfway done, and I have another 4 rounds to go - this time with Taxol. While I celebrate a milestone of completing 4 rounds of the dreaded Red Devil, the happiness is very quickly replaced by the uncertainty of what’s to come.
Working on my mental health has been the hardest part of this whole thing. There are (many) times the highs are weighed down by the lows. The loneliness I feel is harder than the treatment. If I’m not careful, the fear and uncertainty will take over.
This is trauma. This isn’t a choice I made, I couldn’t have avoided this, but I’ll be damned if I let this take over. There is still beauty, beauty I didn’t see before but beauty that is so clear now.
Day 134: March 3, 2022
Today is Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Day.
134 days ago, I was diagnosed with cancer.
134 days ago, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
134 days ago, my life changed.
134 days ago, I went down the google rabbit hole.
Google said the odds are against me. Google said that TNBC is one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. Google said it’s one of the harder cancers to treat. Google said that it’s more likely to recur. What google didn’t tell me, was that I am strong, brave, and fearless. Google didn’t tell me that my family, friends, coworkers, and community will be there with me every step of the way. Google didn’t tell me that I’ll still be sexy and flirty! Google didn’t tell me that I will continue to smile and laugh and that I will get through this. I am not a statistic, and those odds don’t reflect who I am. I will celebrate every treatment, scan, and follow-up like it’s a milestone. I will treat everyday like it is a win. This week I have had bloodwork, an MRI, chemotherapy (for 5.5 hours), a mammogram, and ultrasound, all to prepare me for my next milestone March 15th - my last chemo treatment.
Day 146: March 15, 2022
I did it.
I rang the bell.
This isn’t over yet; I still have surgery and radiation, but I am now 1/3 of the way done.
Day 172: April 10, 2022
Science said I probably had cancer back in 2019. I didn’t know. To be honest, if you would have told that girl that in a few years she’ll be diagnosed with cancer, she wouldn’t have believed you either. It’s been almost a month since had my last round of chemotherapy. A month of riding this high. A month of celebrating that milestone. A month free from needles and appointments. A month of reflection. A month of worry and panic because you are in a state of limbo. A month of fear; has IT started to grow back since you aren’t attacking it with lethal poison? A month of anticipating what is next and wondering if we have done enough. I am crashing from my high and draining the last bit of adrenaline left in my body, running on fumes. When I am still, I can feel the fear inside of me grow. Behind my smile, I am scared. Will this feeling ever actually go away? Or will I learn to just live with it the same way I will live with the scars it will leave on my body?
Day 186: April 24, 2022
Days since last chemotherapy: 40
Days since surgery: 10
I’ve had cancer for over 6 months now. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how much time that is and what I’ve lost. How many of those days I’ve cried. How many days I’ve wished I didn’t have cancer and asking myself why? How many hours I have prayed for this to be over and imagining what that will look like, wishing to be normal. Sure, my lips have spoken those words, and my eyes have cried many tears. My body hurts from the new scars that cover my breast and the pain has taken me to places I’ve never been. Yet, the time I have lost, I will be gifted in years. I keep reminding myself that my body is more than the canvas for my hurt; it is the home to my heart. So, I am learning to soften the painful words that my lips sometimes speak and showering my eyes with the beauty that surrounds me.
If this is what my new normal looks like, then I’m okay with that.