November 23 started like any other Tuesday. The alarm went off at 5:11 AM and I hustled into the bathroom to change into my workout clothes. Yes, workout clothes. I have had a long standing date with the YMCA most weekdays for 5:30 AM. I do not remember my exact workout that day. For some reason, I do remember the outfit I wore to work that day – brown pants and a green Ann Taylor sweater (last year’s Christmas gift from my brother and his wife).
As usual, I was walking in the door to work by 8:30 AM, pleasantly greeting those who were already here. By 10:30 AM, my day had been flipped upside down. The call I received at 10:30 AM went something like this:
“Alexis, this is Dr. Penman.”
“Hi Dr. Penman. How are you?” – me all bubbly assuming good news.
“Well, lil lady. It seems you have a lil breast cancer. You need to come see me today at 3.”
“Okay, I’ll be there.” – and commence freak out mode!
Time seemed to stand still as I alternated calls between Brian and my mom. Um, why was no one picking up their phone at the one moment in my life when I needed to talk? Finally, I reached Bri. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I do know that those two calls to Brian and my mom were the only times I said out loud, “I have breast cancer.” Everyone else was either told by email or by my mom or Bri. I am thankful that I’ve only had to say it twice because it just feels so weird to say it or tell people.
Bri and I stayed at work that day. I needed something else to focus on and work helped. We met each other at my surgeon’s office and and the only thing that I kept thinking of was that my outfit made me look like a tree (brown pants & green shirt). Why would I be thinking about that, not sure. We met with Dr. Penman and listened to her explain everything and the recommended treatment plan: first a lumpectomy, then chemo, and radiation. There were a lot of details explained to us and it was a lot of information to take in at once. In Dr. Penman’s words, they were “going to beat me up for a few months.”