On and off since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have not been sleeping well. When I went on leave to focus on my recovery from surgery, I had more time to focus on making sleep and other basic self-care habits a priority.
After my leave ended, I started radiation and returned to work within a day of each other. Again I had to learn new sleeping patterns as my daily schedule had drastically changed within only a couple days.
Then my radiation ended, and I had to readjust my daily work schedule and relearn new sleeping patterns. It is as if my body does not know how much to rest because it does not know what to expect.
If you couldn’t tell by now, the titles for my blog posts are getting really long. There is so much to discuss in the world that short titles do not seem fitting anymore.
When I first started Unfiltered Snapshot five years ago, you could tell by my earlier posts that it was meant to serve as a place for advice. The first post is titled Are You Really Looking for Advice? The tagline originally was “Raw Advice for Real Life.” That was the intention.
We did it again. My friend Becky and I created another Lunch with Lindsay video yesterday since our Monday lunch got interrupted with the installation of my AC by the maintenance man.
I specifically wanted to have a talk in which I compared my thoughts and experiences with cancer to those with racism. While that was a part of the dialogue, you will find out in the video that a text I received right before we were about to record our video ended up shifting my attention to other aspects of current protests against racial injustice. (If you want to learn more about what I originally wanted to discuss, read If Racism Were a Cancer.)
In our very organic and unscripted conversation, we grappled with protests, race, LGBTQ issues, cancer, mental health, spirituality, military, and more. If you watch the whole video above, you can observe how my friend and I truly give our unedited perspectives.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Today I will start a new segment of treatment for breast cancer, and I feel emotional about how my body, spirit, and mind will respond to treatment. I’m crying as I write this because I’m both nervous of the effects and also grateful to have access to healthcare. With that said, RACISM IS WORSE THAN CANCER. In the past few days, racism has caused me more sorrow than cancer.
When I found out I had cancer, nobody asked me what I did wrong or how bad the cancer was before showing me compassion and wanting justice in my healthcare. When someone experiences racism, there is always someone who needs to evaluate how bad the situation is before determining if the victim is “worthy” of compassion and justice.
The other day, I tried to find an old post of mine on Facebook in which I mentioned MLK. I didn’t find what I was seeking, but I found another instead. Strangely enough, this post does not mention Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK, or any variation of his name, but the powers of Facebook pulled it up for me anyway. This is a post from November 10, 2016.
If you’ve kept up with my blog in the past few months, you know I’ve been juggling many thoughts, emotions, and decisions related to these events:
Being diagnosed with breast cancer as a young adult
Going through breast cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mainly, I’ve been sharing what my diagnosis and what this pandemic mean for my current life. The truth is I don’t have complete clarity at this moment, but I can tell you what I am learning from this process of discernment.
When I was a kid, I grew up being pro-life. It’s not a shocker for someone who grew up in a conservative Christian family and attended Christian schools from Pre-K to 8th grade.
Although I later changed my label to pro-choice (I don’t quite remember if it happened in high school or college), my actual attitudes and beliefs toward family planning didn’t change. I had lots of compassion for women who had to figure out if they should raise their child, put their child up for adoption, or abort the child. As both a pro-life and pro-choice advocate at different times in my life, I wanted to focus on improving systems to support mothers and children. When I was a pro-lifer, I didn’t get why some pro-lifers shamed mothers in these situations without holding the fathers accountable. (I now know that the reasons are patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny.)
In retrospect, I realize that being a pro-lifer during my childhood and early teen years caused me to research adoption more. By the time I was in high school, I was determined to adopt a kid with or without a spouse when I was older.
As an adult, I had a few partners where the conversations of family planning came up. Although I was interested in having biological children, I posed the idea of adoption to my partners. Some were more receptive than others.
During my twenties, I took great offense when one of my exes said we could adopt as long as we had our “own children.” I strongly expressed to him that any child of ours—adopted or not—would be our “own children.” He was a sweet guy, but eventually I broke up with him for other important reasons not related to family planning.
Many of you know that I’m a cancer patient. I felt a lump in my breast December 10th and was diagnosed on December 19th. My life hasn’t been the same since.
I had my mastectomy on February 24th, which was the same week that the Biogen meeting screwed over Boston with COVID-19 infections. That news didn’t become public until later—after I already had been to follow-up appointments at five medical institutions with no extra precaution against the virus.
From March 11th onward, I saw different medical institutions change their protocol with intake for patients and visitors. The procedures change daily as new information arises.
I had my egg retrieval on March 19th. I was ordered to be monitored by someone for 24 hours after the procedure. I was told this took priority over any call for social distancing. Two friends took shifts in caring for me in their homes. Each had a spare room where I stayed and had next to no contact with them.
Below is a picture of my breakfast in my spare room at one friend’s house on March 20th, the day after my egg retrieval. A few hours after I ate this breakfast, I got a call from one hospital stating that I had been briefly exposed to a healthcare worker, who later tested positive for COVID-19.