Three weeks post-mastectomy updates

Quick links to various updates/sites:

Well, technically it's two weeks and six days, but I need to post something. People are asking, and I so appreciate that. I'm feeling well, but extremely exhausted. I'm grateful that my cancer was Stage 1. I'm also still in limbo awaiting further pathology to see if my treatment is finished or not.

I miss my mom a lot. I miss my dad a lot. I am also glad they aren't alive to see their only child go through cancer treatment. I could not imagine that pain, and I suspect it would be a lot worse than the anguish that I feel on a daily basis. 

I'm working on a few blogs that I hope will be helpful to other people going through breast cancer. One will be along the "what to expect when you have a mastectomy [during a pandemic]" and another will be "what you need when you are recovering from a mastectomy." 

Today is just an update, however.

I am overwhelmed with love. While wrestling with guilt about the GoFundMe, so many of you have reminded me how much I have given to the community, whether it be from playing a zillion benefit concerts, underpaid gigs, or this FREE blog I have written for fifteen years, one-on-one coaching I've provided to countless artists, and more. I've also paused billing on my Patreon, so if you're a member over there, you get at least one free month (I may pause December too).

Others (both friends AND therapists!) have reminded me that none of that stuff matters; that even if I hadn't been giving, it doesn't mean I don't deserve to be showered in love and community. Someone always has it worse, but that doesn't mean I'm not deserving.*  

The GoFundMe has been amazing, especially in a year when I lost my job. We've been using the funds to pay medical bills (which will total at least $28,200 for 2020 --  yes, it should be criminal, but that's another blog), to purchase some things that have made my recovery much easier, and to order meals for the family. I can't stand on my feet for more than a few minutes at a time, and David works 12-14 hour days. These funds and friends' meal deliveries have been a huge help and we appreciate them SO much. 

Updates/new FAQs (previous FAQs answered on my previous blog):
  • I did get reconstructive surgery (No judging, please. I know several of you suggested that I don't go that route. But I did. I'm a rebel!)

  • I got my drains out on Monday. That felt SUPER weird. (more about that on my instagram)

  • I'm having phantom LETDOWNS. How crazy is that??? (A letdown is a weird, tingly feeling you get right before your milk starts to come out of your nipples when you're pumping or breastfeeding. I haven't had that feeling in years, and now I don't even have any milk ducts or nipples. But the brain is weird.)

  • I do not know what comes next. There are several possibilities, but they all depend on the recurrence score that is dictated by the Oncotype Dx. In other words, I'm waiting on more pathology. Cancer: it's all about the limbo.

  • My gynecologist wants me to get some uterine and ovarian scans STAT, and I'm all about that. Early detection, folks. 

  • I need to go to physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion, but since COVID is rampant and I'm immunocompromised: I'm not going. I'm attempting my own home exercises, but I do not trust the other patients in the PT offices who can't even seem to where a mask properly.

  • I'm supposed to start walking for exercise, and the doctors specifically suggested a treadmill or elliptical rather than outside walks. If anyone in Louisville is getting rid of a treadmill or elliptical for a reasonable price, will you please message me? Thanks.

  • Repeats of previous answers for those curious: I'm negative for *known* mutations (though genetic counselors believe it's on a gene that hasn't been mapped yet). My four tumors were all ER+, PR+ and Her2-. 

  • I'm anxious to get a second opinion from oncologist, but I am nervous that the oncologist I've been assigned will think I don't trust him. I like him a lot, but I have been advised by many of you to always get a second or third opinion to see what treatment options should look like. I haven't made any phone calls yet because I have phone anxiety. 

    SO MUCH LOVE. Do your mammograms, y'all. If you have dense breast tissue and/or are high-risk, push for an MRI. Doctors will tell you about the false positive rate. You can decide for yourself. I prefer false positive to false negatives. That's just me though. WOMEN SHOULD HAVE A CHOICE IN THEIR HEALTH CARE.

*Also I have been giving away 20% of the GoFundme to other, less-widely-known victims of cancer medical bills and various non-profits. This assuages my guilt a little bit and also helps people who are very much in need of help to get cancer treatment, but who don't have the public following that I do. 


  1. Brigid, I have a nice but heavy treadmill that you can have if we could get some strong guys to haul it to your place. Im here in Seneca Gardens. Im happy to do anything to help in your recovery! Kelley Dunlevy