Monday November third, Dr. Jan Huston, my breast surgeon, sat me down in her office and told me I have cancer. As soon as I heard the C word, I felt a wave of cold chills bolt through my body and like the room was closing in on me; I was set apart, my circumstances had changed - I was facing my mortality. Dr. Huston has very kind eyes, a sweet voice, and a lovely demeanor, but the message was nontheless shocking: I have triple negative breast cancer, which means my cancer is not fueled by any hormones: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). She thinks I can probably get away with chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiation. I am waiting for the BRCA blood test results; an indication of whether the gene is in my family, in which case I'd have to get both breasts and ovaries removed. After an hour of this sweet doctor mapping out my prognosis, my boyfriend and I left with her blessing to go on the trip we had planned - his business trip to London and Munich. I was glad to be able to go away and be distracted; I did my favorite, wandered city streets and museums, photographing what caught my eye - but I knew my days were numbered, and soon I'd have to return to reality. No matter where I was, I could not escape the fear that was pulsing through my body.

Chiara D'AgostinoComment