The day after diagnosis

The day after I was diagnosed with breast cancer was tough. I couldn’t concentrate. Fortunately I only had one client scheduled for early that morning. I don’t know how, but I managed to get through that appointment.

I needed to get out of the house. I needed to pretend that things were normal.

I made an appointment to get my hair cut. The same woman has been doing my hair for almost 2 years. In the past we have talked about my purple hair, her wedding, the excitement of her first house and my chickens.

But on that day when she asked me how I was doing it made my stomach hurt. Even though my diagnosis was the only thing on my mind, in that moment I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t say it out loud.

I lied and said everything was fine.

But my trip to town was not just about keeping myself busy, it was also about starting on the next step of my journey. I have supported many other people through health challenges and now it was my turn to take my own advice.

The first thing I did was buy myself a notebook. If you follow my blog you have seen me write about the importance of having a healthcare binder. This is different than the healthcare binder; this notebook is specific for this one issue only.

I really wanted a pretty notebook. I wanted something that would make me forget about my diagnosis and why I was buying it. Nothing fit. I stood in Staples staring at the huge selection of notebooks and I began to cry.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Fortunately the store was almost empty and no one saw my tears. I chose a notebook that would serve my purpose, content with the fact that I could pretty it up myself. I paid the cashier without looking him in the eye and left.

Walking to the car I pulled the notebook close to my chest and winced in pain. My biopsy sites were only 2 days old and they were still very painful. I never realized how much stuff I pull into my chest until this happened.

When I got home the notebook provided a much needed opportunity to do something. First thing was to figure out what needed to be in it.Notebook Pic

So far this is what I have:

  • Doctors: A list of every healthcare professional I speak with, including the name, address, phone number and specialty.
  • Timeline: A diary of what is going on with my current medical situation. It lists the date, the interaction (type of test, phone call, results) and healthcare professional involved.
  • Issues: This is my honest take on exactly where I am. A list of things that I feel need to be addressed for me to achieve optimum health.
  • Protocols: Here is where I write down all the things I am doing holistically for myself. Diet changes, ear candling, energy treatments, herbal recipes and others get listed with the date.
  • Food Journal: Just like it sounds…writing down everything I eat and drink.

The notebook I chose also has a couple pockets in it that I can use to hold loose papers. I take it with me to every doctor appointment and keep it close to write down my food.

Putting together that notebook was a diversion but it was getting to be afternoon and I still hadn’t called the surgeon.

The woman that answered the phone was very matter of fact. The doctor sees patients on Tuesday and Thursday. I can get you in next Tuesday.

My mind screamed….no that’s too soon! I’ve only had this information less than 24 hours. I don’t want to have surgery. I’m not even supposed to be in this club.

But I calmly replied “No, Thursday would be better”.

I felt sure she could hear me shaking through the phone.

A few more phone calls, another request to the insurance and the MRI was scheduled.

Then a call that made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach.

She called herself a navigator. She was to help me get through breast cancer. She would explain my diagnosis, tell me next steps and answer my questions.

She was very nice on the phone but…..I don’t want a navigator.

Having a navigator means this is real.


28 replies
  1. Tamara
    Tamara says:

    You are an inspiration and I feel so honored that you are sharing this journey. I appreciate your vulnerability and I am humbled by your courage. Be well…

  2. Kristy
    Kristy says:

    My heart is heavy and I am so sorry for this news, but I KNOW you will pull through this! You are the most positive and enlightened spirit I know.. If there is anything you need please let me know 🙂 Lots of light and love to you dear Melanie!

  3. Willow
    Willow says:

    You are in my prayers. May God bless you on this journey. Please have your husband help you to do visualization & make this go away. It works! I know! It worked for me on a grapefruit sized tumor on my ovary. Have him put his hands over/not on, the affected area as you are laying comfortably on your back, with your eyes closed & both of you visualize together, healthy areas of concern. Use the astral plane to connect & see health. He’s an artist & you are too. This should come easy for you both to do. Clear your mind of all concern with no noise to disturb as you “see” together pure health. Blessings to you both. Love Xoxo Sharon Willow-Smith

  4. Betsy Timmerman
    Betsy Timmerman says:

    Melanie this writing about your experiences will not only help you but all of us reading it. I will definitely send more people your way to read this blog. It’s beautifully written and raw as it should be.

    Unfortunately we are spiritual beings in bodies and subject to the slings and arrows of illness. You can do everything right with diet and lifestyle and still be “in the club” unfortunately. Between the stresses we somaticize, the chemicals that accumulate in our bodies over the decades its hard to go through life unscathed.

    I am so sorry you are experiencing this but you are a leader and healer of women and your journey will make us all sit up and take notice realizing we must wake up and be all we can be.

    Sending the best healing energy your way. If I can be of service to you in anyway let me know.

  5. Darby McGuigan
    Darby McGuigan says:

    I too am taken aback with your honesty and vulnerability. No matter how this journey transpires your blog will be gift to everyone else who finds themselves on a similar journey.

    Love and hugs!

  6. Lori M. Chapman
    Lori M. Chapman says:

    Melanie, Thank you for keeping us informed of your journey through your beautifully written stories. I attended an herb class that you hosted a few years ago and I have always enjoyed your informative blog posts. My positive thoughts and prayers go out to you.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Have you spoken with your Oncologist about herbal remedies? My Oncologist said absolutely NO! The reason is that they have no idea what the interaction with Chemo drugs would be. ..or do. I wasn’t even allowed to take probiotics for my messed up stomach. I tried to take as few of their meds as possible. ….until one very scary day. I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out to be an allergic reaction to the Chemo drugs. I was given more meds. At that point my mindset changed. My new motto was: give me the meds, So I don’t end up dead. I am now off of everything! And I’m Cancer free!! It’s a fast paced, scary time. ….with very little time to think and make decisions. You are an amazing woman and I know you can do this. Trust your instincts!

  8. Tammy Buckallew
    Tammy Buckallew says:

    You are one of the strongest woman I know. I know you will get through this and come out well. Thank you for sharing your journey. Hugs!

  9. Barbara Chatzkel
    Barbara Chatzkel says:

    Melanie — sending you lots of positive and healing energy. Remember, I am just “around the corner” if you need anything.

  10. Vicki
    Vicki says:

    Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. Your guidelines may be a help to many and sharing raw feelings inspire others to open up. I believe that the more that send positive energy, the better the results. You are an amazing woman Melanie and everything will be fine. The C word just throws life into a tailspin. Praying for healing, inner strength and peace.


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