Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 32

The Boobie Queen
& Her Boobie King
BY W H I T N E Y O'C ON N E R

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Once upon a time, on New Year's Eve in 2016, a man and woman got married in Charleston, SC. They
celebrated their new marriage with bubbling champagne, the liveliest dance party the South has ever
seen and the best late night pizza Charleston, SC had to offer. They left their wedding on a pedicab
ready to take on the world together! They had a new house, a new dog and great jobs waiting for them
when they got back to Georgia. What could go wrong?
Remember that whole " In sickness and in health " thing that people say when they get married? Well I had no idea that that would be the first vow that was tested after getting married.
Six weeks after I got married, I received a phone call from my doctor. After getting my annual
exam done, a mammogram and biopsy, it never even occurred to me that I would get a phone call
like this. I will never forget where I was. I had just gotten home from work. It was around 5:15pm.
I walked through my house to let the dog out and my phone rang. She didn't even say hello...
She said, " Mrs. O'Connor, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but all of the tests that we have
run indicate that you have breast cancer. " Wait, what? I just turned 30 a week ago. Are you sure?
To be completely honest, I had never even heard of women getting breast cancer unless they
were over 60. I exercise and take care of myself. I eat and drink the right things 75% of the

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DECEMBER 2020

time. Why would someone like me get stage
3 breast cancer?
I was too shocked to cry. Instead I just
paced outside and tried to figure out a way to
tell him. The new husband that is. But how
in the world was I supposed to tell him that
he married a sick woman instead of a healthy
one? How was I supposed to tell him that the
life we envisioned was going to look different
than we thought? As I continued to pace and
think about the words to say, I heard the car
door close. He was home. Crap! The tears
finally made their way from the other side of
my eyes out into the world as he opened the
back door to greet me. I looked at him and
he knew. He just knew. I didn't say a word. I
didn't have to. He saw my tears and said, " I'm
so sorry babe. " We held each other out on
the patio until I was brave enough to look at
him in the face again. Once the tears stopped
between the two of us, I remember thinking,
" That may have been one of the hardest moments of my life. "
It was the first of many hard moments.
Now it was time to tell my family. The last
thing I wanted was to be responsible for their
tears, their need to pray and their worry.
How was I supposed to tell them, " Hey guess
what guys...we have to do this cancer stuff
all over again. " You see, we lost my Dad in
2015 to a glioblastoma brain tumor, which
is the most aggressive type of brain cancer
you can have. The prognosis was not good.
My family and I took care of him for almost
2 years. He lasted longer than most. The
fears began to set in. Would I last 2 years?
Is my husband going to be left alone like my
mother was? Would my mother have to deal
with another death so soon?
Because my breast cancer was progressing
rapidly, we had to get going on treatment
immediately. Instead of using our wedding
gift cards to buy things that most newly
married couples buy like plates, silverware
and bedding, we were buying chemotherapy
supplies, surgery pillows and anything that
had ginger in it. Educating ourselves seemed
to minimize our anxiety about it all because
we had a rough idea of what to expect. We had
a plan which created some relief. The plan was
to have chemotherapy followed by a double
mastectomy. I was doing what they asked me
to do (for the most part) and my husband was
getting his " doctorate degree " in breast cancer.
Knowledge became his weapon of choice and
prepping became mine.


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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 5
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Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover3
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