Welcome to guest blogger Wendy Pucci, who has graciously decided to share her breast cancer “journey” with anyone who might benefit. Wendy and I discovered a distressing lack of information around breast cancer treatments and exercise so we’ve decided to record her pre and post surgical experiences to give a candid view into preparing for…. and recovering from her second Mastectomy (and third diagnosis!)
Stay tuned to the Mind 2 Body Fitness website, Youtube channel, and social media for more blogs, videos, and helpful first-hand information about Breast Cancer and Exercise!
This Is No Journey…
I’m grateful Maria has offered this blog space to me. We — Maria and I — have decided to try to document my progress through my recently diagnosed Breast Cancer — for the third time!
Maria has been kicking my butt for 3 weeks now, in preparation for my surgery and recuperation! If nothing else comes from this documentation, I hope to create awareness of this deadly disease. This is where I would give you all the stats… but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m going to take you through this pothole filled road — rather than “journey” — through the eyes of a soon to be 3 time survivor, me.
I was 29 when I felt it. I was three years married to the love of my life. Working on a boat. Living the dream as they say. A rush came over me, from my toes to the top of my head. I knew it wasn’t right. I called my sister, hysterical. No, my sister’s name is not hysterical, it’s Azulite, but I called her crying! She was so good — calming me while taking this all very seriously. “Go to the Gyno!” she said… And so I did.
Gyno said I shouldn’t worry. I was too young! Oh! Ok! Remember, this is pre-google. Or when google wasn’t a stock (Shoulda, coulda, woulda!) So information wasn’t at our fingertips. I went back to the boat and a month later, when the tumor was still there, I took matters into my own hands. I obviously couldn’t count on my Gynecologist. You’re fired! That’s when I realized I had to be my own health advocate.
No problem! This is just a speed bump. I’m on my merry way … into my 30’s.
Then, picture it — 5 years and 9 months later, I get a call from my Oncologist. You don’t want to get a call from your Oncologist! And note the 5 year mark — when you think you’re clear. I’m not a survivor — I’m an incubator! Cancer again. Same breast.
But… I’m ahead of myself. The surgery was ok. I never had pain except the drain — the awful drain! I can still feel it. At the time, I was working on boats…80-90 hours per week as the Chef. (No, the show “Below Deck” is not real!) I was in the worst shape of my life — but recuperation was not bad. And I now had a breast that was perky! Woohoo!
That was 2001. Fast forward to November 23, 2020…what a great year. Walking my babies, 2 Shiba Inu’s named Cosmo and Sushi. Caller ID — Care New England. About 5 days after my yearly mammogram. (Yes, I had been able to only radiate myself once a year for almost 20 years!) More on that later. UGH. NOPE. NOT HAPPENING. Heavy sigh. I answer. There’s a really nice woman with a really high voice telling me I have to come back for a Diagnostic Mammogram and Ultrasound. Been there, blah blah. Yup. They saw something.
Dec 3rd — Mammo and Ultrasound. The tech who did the Ultrasound was good — Saw it right away. BUT, she didn’t shut off the machine. I saw all the pics of the tumor. I took pictures of the screen. Yes, I saw the warning about how I’m not supposed to take pictures of the screen. Really? Too bad… It’s my breast!
In walked the young Radiologist in the white coat. I said “I don’t want to see you.” “I know,” he said. “But you have to have a Biopsy.” Ok. No problem. He urged, “No really, you have to have a Biopsy!” Ok Doogie! I’ve been here before! I have been fighting this stupid disease since before you were born. I got it! So not my finest moment.
So here I am… again. Making decisions about what to do. The hardest part was telling my husband about it on the phone because he was in Amsterdam, working. He never signed up for this. But he’s not going anywhere. This I know for sure. Why go now when things are getting so exciting? Again!
I don’t apologize for this blog being so long. You may have already fallen asleep. It’s ok. I get it. Cancer sucks! But when something like this happens, people start to come out. The past three days have been amazing for me. The support I have gotten has been overwhelming. It’s like wrapping myself in a towel that just finished in the dryer cycle — warming me and letting me know I’m not alone.
So what I’ve been trying to say in a very round-about way is, I CAN DO THIS. AGAIN. We can do this. Again. With the help of my teammates at Mind 2 Body Fitness to whom I’m so grateful for finding late in my life — Maria, the masochist; Clary, the chair queen; and Amy, who I’ve asked to help post surgery, I will be just fine. I will be just fine!
If you want to see how it goes, please check in with the Mind 2 Body Fitness website, Youtube channel and other social media. Maybe we can all do Maria’s really rigorous “let’s get Wendy ready for surgery” video together? And, if you don’t want to join us on this pothole filled road that’s ok too … Just check your breasts!