Normally I try to keep my author page and blog as book related as possible, but I’m going to break that for this post. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to say this, and a conversation I had with somebody recently solidified that I should, so here I go.
I have cancer.
Breast cancer to be exact.
Last month while I was in the shower, complaining about how I forgot to put a new loofa in, I found a lump on my left breast. I immediately called my doctor to see if they would give me a prescription for a mammogram, they said no. “No, Claire, you’re only thirty, you have at least ten years before you start getting those done, but come to our office so we can have a look.”
So I did.
They were concerned enough to send me in for a sonogram. The sonogram warranted enough worry for the mammogram. The mammogram results came back and they said they needed a biopsy. The biopsy came back and they had me go in for an MRI. The MRI came back and confirmed that I, indeed, have Stage 2a Breast Cancer (which, in my specific case means that it’s a little bigger than what a stage 1 looks like, and “a” means I have no genetic family history of it–this is a very good thing for me).
I’m not telling you this because I want you to feel sorry for me (please don’t). I’m not telling you this because I want outpouring love and attention (if you know me, you know that’s not my style). Before this happened I never thought of cancer as such a personal thing. I saw it as “cancer, the disease that has taken some of my loved ones. The disease that has taken some of my friends’ loved ones and given them grief over their family members.” I didn’t see it as “cancer, a disease I would feel weird telling people I had, if I had it.”
But then I was diagnosed, and I kind of wanted to keep it to myself. I kept thinking, “My God, these are my boobs. I fed my children with these. This feels so… personal.”
And it is.
But I feel that as a woman, I should speak out about it because this could be you.
I’m telling you this because I was lucky (because I am lucky).
I’m telling you this because I listened to my body and didn’t take any chances. I didn’t say, “It’s just a lump, it’ll go away.” I didn’t think, “Nobody in my family has cancer, why would I?”
I’m telling you this because I have always been a healthy person. Because every single doctor and nurse I’ve encountered in the past couple of weeks has looked at me and said, “This isn’t supposed to be happening to you. You’re so young.”
But guess what? It is happening to me.
I’m telling you this because cancer has no age. It doesn’t care if you’re healthy or young. It doesn’t care how strong you think you are or about whether or not your toddlers depend on you. It doesn’t care about your spouse, job or financial status. It doesn’t care what car you drive, how many designer purses you own, or how many degrees you’ve earned.
Cancer doesn’t care about your well being. She thrives on making her grand entrance when you’re least expecting her, because you never are.
I’m telling you this because I want you to listen to your body, whether you’re old enough for a mammogram or not. Pay attention. The doctor I was speaking to about this (the conversation that finally convinced me that I needed to come out with it), said that breast cancer in younger women is on the rise. She said that ninety percent of young women that are diagnosed don’t even have history of cancer in their families (I fall into that category). A lot of you are young, the majority of you are women, and IF (God forbid) you go through this, I don’t want it to be too late. I was fortunate enough to catch it and act on it when it was in the early stages.
I’m having double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery this week, just a few days after my son’s 5th birthday (he’s been planning his birthday trip to Disney World for months and I refuse to let this get in the way of it). After the surgery I will most likely be undergoing some rounds of chemotherapy. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I have a great team of people beside me, behind me, and in front of me, leading the way and cheering me on. Aside from the million doctor’s appointments I’ve been going to lately, I’ve been working and writing and doing everything I normally do. I’m sure my schedule will slow down a bit while I’m recovering, but I know I’ll bounce right back.
PLEASE don’t take this as a “woe is me” post, because it’s not meant to be one. I’m strong, resilient, and I will get through this (and I really don’t like feelings of pity, so please don’t waste them on me). This is an awareness post; one I hope you can learn from. Hopefully it will make you pay close attention to your body.
If you see that I don’t respond to your messages or emails know that it’s not because I’m ignoring you. I just need to jump over a few hurdles before I come back… with new boobs (and books ;)).
Love you all to the moon and back.
Ps. Fuck cancer.***Update on this: My surgery was successful (YAY!!). I’ve been in pain and discomfort, but am much, much better now. Yesterday I went to my medical oncologist and we spoke about chemotherapy. I found out that I will have to undergo chemo treatments. So for the next 4 months, I will be doing that, but once those are done I can officially (Lord willing) kiss this ENTIRE thing goodbye and turn the page on this chapter of my life. That’s all for now. And cancer can still go fuck itself, that part hasn’t changed :).
Erica McKinley says
How brave of you to post this. I’m sure it was hard to do. I will send you thoughts of quick healing!! I can’t wait to hear that you are back to normal and writing some of my favorite books! Good Luck Claire!
A.L. Zaun says
Keeping you in prayer and trusting that this hurdle will make you stronger (fuck life’s hard lesson…I wish it was easier). You are more than a survivor. You are a life giver. Siempre te mantengo en pensamiento, desandote lo mejor, sabiendo que vas a lograr mucho en la vida, y que los retos de hoy van a traer unas bendiciones grande manana. Un abrazo fuerte. ~Ana
Autumn Hull says
I love you so much. Seriously. I will be here for you in any way I can. xoxoxo
Amy McAvoy says
Love you so much and am here. You’re so strong and brave to write this and you have an army of people behind you!
Krista Guerrero says
Thank you for your strength as a woman, mother, writer and soon to be breast cancer survivor. And I know you will come back with fabulous boobs and an abundance of vitality!
Mia Kayla says
You’re such an inspiration to so many. Truly you are. Thank you.
Well said!! I love/admire your courage and strength and know that they will lead you to recovery!! YOU are an amazing person, Claire!!
Kolbee Rey says
You are in a word…amazing. I lost a life; the very embodiment of love, grace and beauty to breast cancer. I wish I could have taken her struggle, her pain from her; but I witnessed her strength, her resolve and her sacrifice.
This blog entry WILL saves lives. You ARE the hero of this story. <3
Erika H says
You are an amazing person, Claire! Thank you for posting this! If only one person reads this and it helps them that is awesome! Sending you tons of positive thoughts and healing vibes. Most importantly, lots of prayers!! <3
Staci Pope says
You are amazing! Thank you so very much for posting this for your followers. Hopefully, it will be just the thing to send one or all of us to the doctor.
I am sending prayers up for you and wiching a speedy recovery. God Bless you and take care of yourself.
Fred LeBaron says
I love you, Clari, and will be rooting for you the whole way. I know it must have been hard and scary to decide how to deal, and that there will be challenges along the way, but am proud of how you’re taking control, and I trust in your strength and vitality to pull through. You’re in my heart, thoughts and prayers, and I can’t wait to see those new boobs 😉
Artemis Grey says
Thank you for sharing this with us. Love to you and your family, I know you’ll face this thing head on and give’m hell! And because you shared this, all of us will be there beside you, fighting along with you. If you need back-up, we’re here, as I know your family is too.
I am a 6 year breast cancer survivor. You will get through this….and if you ever need to talk to someone who has had it and kicked it’s ass…..please feel free. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Kimmie S says
Thank you so much for sharing your story!! Wishing you a quick recovery and God Bless! I will keep you in my prayers because everyone could use those!! <3
Rachel Bales says
Thank you for sharing! My thoughts and prayers go out to you for strength during this extremely challenging experience in your life!
Jasmine Cardi says
So sorry to read this but am happy for your perspective and your message of courage to all of us. Sending you a humungo hug!
Amanda Hootie Clark says
GODDAMN I LOVE YOU! You tough, strong, FIERCE BITCH! Kick this shit in the ASS and continue living my love. I only met you once but I want to see your face again and this time actually know who you are LOL! Much Love and a speedy recovery! xoxo <3
Toski Covey says
<3 F cancer, Hugs to you, and many, many prayers <3
Keith Hodgson says
Claire You are already a winner! Enjoy the victory lap of life! You will not recognize all the faces as you continue the good fight , we will wave and wish well, and keep the FAITH
Winding Stairs Book Blog says
Fuck cancer!! Love you girl!
Thank you for sharing your message. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers!
BJ Harvey says
My thoughts are with you during this time. Having had an ongoing chronic breast condition for the past 12 mths I totally understand the personal feeling. Best of luck with the surgery hun, I’ll be thinking of you xxx ooo
You are in my thoughts and prayers!!
Jodie Flurry says
Wow, your story sounds almost like mine. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer four years ago at the age of 34. My youngest was 4 at the time. I also opted to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I had the Transflap reconstruction done. Also I had chemo. Today I am in the clear. Praying for you! Kick cancers butt!
Pamela Nola says
You are going into this with a great attitude Claire, I am sorry for you but you’ve got this…..my girlfriend at the age of 35 did it & all the while took her kids to the park, was at every game they had, good luck with The surgery and just keep swimming. God bless xoxo
Stacy Wollett says
You are in our thoughts and prayers! Stay strong and kick cancer in the ass!
Suzanne Critelli - Sneaky Reading says
Thank you for sharing your story! Thoughts and prayers for you. Stay strong and kick ass!
Terri Peterson says
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Way to stay strong.
Lilyana Goodman says
You are in my thoughts and prayers.Stay strong and kick cancers ass
Tonya Mayhew says
This gives me chills reading it. I don’t know you or you don’t know me but I can tell just by what you have written that you are a very strong person. I’m glad that your doctors finally decided to check out your concerns. We know our bodies better than they do and in turn they should listen. Good Luck with your surgeries!! Stay strong and keep positive thoughts!!
This made me cry. I am saying prayers for you. I hope you have a great time with your family celebrating your sons birthday. I have a daughter your age and that is not an age anyone expects to get cancer. God speed through your surgery & recovery.
Dovrat Admoni says
Hi Claire, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer last year at the age of 36. I had double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and I finished chemo last year . today I’m feeling great. Thank you for sharing it’s so important for women to know.
If you have any question you want to ask or any thought you want to share i’ll be more than happy to help. Best of luck <3
Dee McGee says
I’m glad you’re speaking out about this. Cancer doesn’t give two shits if you’re young, old, healthy or not. I’ve lost a grandmother and have had a MIL survive Cancer. All you can do is be proactive about your health and body. I will definitely keep you in my positive thought and prayers, Claire! And I adore you’re writing. I look forward to The Devil’s Contract!
Hats off to you for listening to your body and staying adamant about getting it checked! Cancer may have a predilection for certain age groups but it doesn’t care about that. Here’s to hoping your recovery is swift and the cancer is gone to good!
That was beautifully written (no surprise there 🙂 You have amazing approach to what you are going through that I bet will encourage all sorts of women who have been or are going through something like this. Hoping the Surgery goes well and you bounce back fast for your family. And I’m looking forward to more books from you!!
Beverly Cindy says
Sending you a rainbow of Positive thoughts. I am a cancer survivor. Ovarian cancer. I know it’s not easy, but you can win this fight! Be strong girl! At the end you will say I’m not a cancer survivor, the cancer didn’t survive me! Just Smile!
Erycka Thesing says
Blessings and Miracles! May God continue to hold you and keep you! Thank you for sharing your very personal battle!
Lisa Atherton says
You are very definitely in my prayers and after losing my mum to this shitty disease 6 years, it’s important that we listen to our bodies and trust our instincts when something is wrong. My mum didn’t and by the time she was diagnosed it was too late to do anything but keep her comfortable. Keep positive and sending you lots of love <3
You are a beautiful person inside and out.may god bless you and may you have a speedy recovery..like you said f**k cancer. You got this lady�� xo
Cezanne Hayden-Dyer says
I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers! F-cancer, you will beat this. Love and hugs <3
Emma Lee says
Fuck cancer!!!!! Kick it’s ass Clare!!!!
Kizeeta Williams says
Sending prayers your way and wishing u a speedy recovery! ♥♥
Susan Griscom says
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Here’s to a quick recovery! F-cancer!
Vikes Fan says
Thoughts and prayers are with you Claire..you got this! You caught it early and sounds like you have the kick ass attitude to beat this. I am a 5 1/2 year survivor and know how all the love and support you have will guide your way to a full recovery! Much love…
My thoughts and prayers to you. God bless. Thanks for sharing your story and the awareness.
Cyndi Becker says
Claire – we met at the Authors event in SF at the end of May . Immediately I felt this warmth towards you – you have a gentle and kind spirit and your genuineness is so apparent. I’m not religious, but I do believe in keeping things positive and sending out the best to the universe. You’re an outstanding and amazing women – I am sending all the great positive feelings I can to the universe in hopes for a quick and complete recovery! Like Raine says – YOU SO GOT THIS!! BEST wishes! Cyndi
I agree FUCK Cancer!!!
I agree and understand where you are coming from…this is not you saying “woe me” this is you embracing it, making it yours, just one of your ways of fighting it with getting the word out there. Early detection is best, and you are right, paying attention to your body was the best thing. I don’t know you, but do love your books. I am nurse, an advocate for patients but also a CANCER survivor myself. It was the scariest time in my life. You don’t need sympathy at this time, you just need support, prayers, thoughts…you sound like a very brave woman and I am very happy to hear this. I don’t sympathize, I empathize with you. I feel with you, my thoughts and prayers are yours, it may be hard, but always keep your head up and think positive, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Wish you well and want you know that your fans will always be here for you <3
You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story; thank you for raising awareness.
Good luck with everything and get well soon! Xo
Kelsie Leverich says
Your strength is admirable. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m praying for you!
Raine Miller says
You’ve so got this Claire. Love you, and just keep on fucking cancer. That’s the way to do it. xxoo <3
Yep, FUCK CANCER!
Brandace Morrow says
Sheri Zilinskas says
Thank you for sharing this. Sending lots of positive thoughts, prayers, and virtual hugs your way. You are most definitely a strong and intelligent woman.
Brittany Terrell says
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clista Seals says
Claire, your words are filled with positivity and hope. I will keep you in my prayers. Stay strong and Know that you have a team of friends and fans hoping for the best for you and your family. God Bless.
Meg K says
I admire your strength and courage Claire. Sending you good thoughts and prayers.
Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you will let us know how you’re doing. Please know that when I look at my mom on this Mother’s Day and thank God for her surviving breast cancer 21 years ago, I will think of you. Peace & Blessings to you!
My new mantra…Fuck Cancer!
TRTK and me says
Brave and inspirational. Fight the good fight and kick Cancers ass. x
Pats Rule says
Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Please take all the time you need to recover and get healthy. We fans will be here for you always!!!