By Laura and William
The emotions and the fear stabbed deeply
Through the numbness of shock and disbelief.
The pain curled me up into a ball
My knees tucked into my chest,
My hoodie pulled down over my head
I sobbed, realizing that this was to be me.
My search terms on YouTube spiraled from “what is breast cancer”
to “milking the drains”; “the iron bra”; “expanders and reconstruction”.
Terms that were not part of my vocabulary,
Once again, the power of knowing - it changes everything!
I couldn’t pull myself away from the stories of these young women.
I wanted to watch more, learn more, hear more,
Follow their experiences, find a connection.
On my four and a half hour train ride to New York,
I watched every video I could,
Somberly noticing there weren’t many.
The same YouTubers would appear in my search list
I had exhausted new terms and keywords.
I remember the epiphany.
A singular moment, sitting on my couch in Boston,
My bestie beside me, as I clicked “post” onto Facebook.
I was going to tell the world I had breast cancer.
That I was diagnosed at 34.
That I was vegan with no family history, nor genetic pre-disposition. That I was diagnosed with breast cancer
I was looking to take the community along for the ride.
Creating amateur YouTube videos allowed me to
Speak to my experience, and helped me to process.
I was able to share my experiences in real time;
The day I lost my hair.
My first infusion
Having my port get infected
Needing intravenous chemotherapy
Explaining a full auxiliary node dissection
Surgery hacks I wish I had known about
Crawling your fingers up the wall
Describing cording and lymphedema
Getting my first radiation tattoos
Skin irritations and radiation burns
Putting myself out there, exposed to all.