A Letter to the Reader
Dear reader, you wonderful, strong human:
I never considered myself to be overtly feminine. I grew up playing soccer, and I was good. I had a solid build, killer quads and the obligatory ponytail. I was strong. I was invincible and I was all-sports, all the time. I believed in function over form; and I didn’t have time for fashion. If there were ever two things I hung my tiara on, they were my eyelashes and my boobs. I always had super long lashes – enviable if I do say so myself…And man, I had good boobs. They were round and perky – they protruded, rather than scooping if you know what I mean, and with the right bra, oh the cleavage. They fit my body, were fairly symmetrical and completely natural with just the right amount of salon-induced tan. This introduction may sound conceited. I call it nostalgic. In November of 2016, I found a lump in my left breast that would ultimately change my life.
As I wrote this book, I found myself stopping every few pages, contemplating why I was doing so… I’m not special. I don’t know why what I think and experienced seems worth putting out there; but then I realized that I essentially wrote the guidebook that I wish I had when I was first diagnosed. You’ll come to read about all the questions from the doctors and social workers regarding whether or not I wanted a support group or to talk to someone in my same exact shoes. And I didn’t. Not in the traditional sense, but more specifically because I didn’t consider any of the ‘supporters’ that the hospital referred me to as being in my same exact shoes.
Sure, they had cancer; breast cancer. But they didn’t have triple negative, metaplastic breast cancer. They were in their 30s, but not 32. Not single and unattached. Not without child(ren). Not with 60-hour-a-week corporate jobs where they were the only woman in management. Not living alone in Miami. Again, I’m not special, I’m just underrepresented. In the same way I don’t pretend to understand how on earth I would have explained my situation to my child, I don’t know how speaking with any of these women would have helped me. Maybe that’s unfair. Maybe I don’t care. Hey look! I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it! Take the laughs where you can get them, folks!
This book will take you through the nine most challenging months of my (now) 35 years on this earth. This isn’t a bitching session about a terrible predicament. It’s not an epic tale of finding love in the middle of a category five shitstorm. It’s a raw, real, uncensored, (hopefully) uplifting journey that you’ll take with me through the hard times, the weird stuff, real life, the triumph and the what the fuck do I do now.
As you read, please don’t feel bad about laughing at or with me. After all, if we can’t laugh about it, we’ll cry, amiright? Be warned: You’ll probably come to learn way TMI about Jessie Poo, and you may at times think I’m full of shit. (You could be right (#SelfAware); but not about this.) Unlike a lot of the commercials you see on TV, breast cancer is not always a pink-shirted, middle-aged woman with a husband and a dog, who reads the morning paper and goes for long hikes. It’s also not a my-life-is-over-let-me-just-park-it-by-the-toilet-and-puke-my-day-away death sentence.
My story is one of a single, career-driven, pre-kid, badass woman living alone in one of the most superficial cities in the world, who takes no shit from anyone. This is my journey; one I went into relatively blind. I hadn’t seen family members deal with this. I didn’t have friends who lived to tell the tale. I don’t pretend to know how someone in a different life situation would have handled some of the things I went through, but you’re going to read about how I dealt with it. How I got through it. How I survived it. I hope you’ll find my story to be an entertaining one; but also, a real one that you’ll relate to on one level or another and possibly even share with someone who can benefit from the overall message.
Best of luck in the battle of and for your life! Give it hell.