Hardest Day

First the good news: Although all CT scan results are not yet in, so far there is no evidence of metastasis in the bones.  It could very well be that the rib I cracked this morning (with one big hearty cough-sneeze combo at breakfast) is just a “cough fracture.” But it hurts like hell, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a little stoned on pain medication as I write this.

And now the bad news…in fact the worst news we have received since my diagnosis almost 2 years ago:

The nodules in the lungs have grown and while some lymph nodes have shrunk, some have enlarged and there are new ones in the space between my lungs.  All of this means that it is official: my cancer does not respond to standard chemotherapies. Actually they’ve tried all but one, and they’re holding that in reserve for now. Better I try some experimental treatments, they say.  Better we find a clinical trial, they say, though they don’t have one in particular in mind right now.

I am simply devastated.  I feel desperate and frightened and angry. Nothing has been able to stop this cancer, and I fear that nothing will. I feel mystified – utterly and completely – by the idea that something so ferocious has made me its target. I am simultaneously on the kitchen floor, under the duvet and wandering around disoriented and underdressed in the blizzard.

There have been a lot of tears today – a lot. My husband and I have instinctively been no further than a few feet apart at any time since receiving the news, as if we are afraid that this cancer well and truly means to separate us. The invisible tentacles of my parents, my family, and my friends have reached out through phone calls, texts, e-mails and general vibes of love, weaving a kind of blanket of collective protection around me. And my daughter?  Oh, my baby.  That’s the hardest of all.  I can’t even look at her without thinking, I just want to see you grow.


Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

39 responses to “Hardest Day

  1. Katie

    Oh Leanne. I checked in one last time before shutting down my computer and saw this post. I am heartbroken. I asked myself what can I do to help you chip away at the fear and give you the courage to keep fighting with the grace and determination that you have shown us all?

    I still believe with all my heart that you can fight this ugly, horrible disease. All I can think to do right now is to give you the biggest virtual hug that a virtual stranger can possibly give.

  2. Celia McBride

    I love you, Leanne. And you are deeply loved. No matter what. You are loved. Cancer can’t change that. Nothing can destroy it. Your daughter has your love and you have hers. Today. Now. This is the only truth.

  3. Anita

    No words. Just hugs, virtual though they may be. And very real soup – just say the word.

  4. Jodi Lastman

    May this be the last worst day and may they get better from here as you “kick at the darkness” and beat this nasty beast.

    So much love to you.

  5. Squiggysmom

    Thank you for taking the time out of your nightmare to let us in the virtual world share some of he very terrible pain you are experiencing.

    Oh my. So many things I wish for you…..

    Echoing what Celia has said. Your daughter, Your husband, family and friends have your love and you have theirs, Today, Now and Always.

  6. Gwen

    You have been in my mind all day, Leanne. I am so very sorry that you received such devastating news today. No wonder you feel as you do: angry, beaten down, disoriented and sad. If the past accurately predicts the future, though, this is what I predict you will do. Even though it seems (and is) almost insuperably difficult, you will pick yourself up once again and you, your doctors and your family will research and seek out the best possible clinical trial, one that will really prove to kick cancer’s butt. Right now, though, you need to give yourself time to process this latest incredibly unfair setback. Such a vile disease! How I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all go away for ever. But the best I can do is to let you know that you are in my thoughts, and in the thoughts of the many others who follow your blog.

  7. Hank

    Leanne, my heart is breaking for you and your family. What a shitty, awful day for you. I wish there was something I could do – anything, anything! I love you and absolutely hate with all my being that you have to endure this terror. Ssssooooo sorry my love! All of us who love you just know that there is a light at the end of this f#@&*^g tunnel. XXXOOOO

  8. Carol W.

    Just remember, we’re walking together next September. xo

  9. Arlene Redmond

    Leanne…I can hardly write to you. Where do you find the reserves to write to us? My heart hurts for you today. I am not giving up on you. Your father says if anyone can beat it you can. Georgia has an amazing role model.

  10. Mandy

    Leanne, I just heard about your news and then read your post… We love you, Axel and Georgia. We’re thinking of you and praying.

    Love, Mandy

  11. Mary Lou

    Hi Leanne, you have been in my thoughts and prayers for a very long time. I don’t often write, but I do read everyday. I cannot image what you and your family are going through, I just hope that all of this love (written or just thought) will help. You are amazing to share all of this with us.

    Love, Mary Lou

  12. lisa

    Hey Leanne,

    Sometimes I want to write, and I honestly just don’t know what to say. The past 2 years have been hell with cancer overshadowing or looming somewhere close by and I feel like nothing I write can change it or make you feel better. But after reading some of the comments on this latest blog, I echo what Gwen and Carol W. say.
    You’ve had these setbacks before and forged ahead and through. You are a SO strong now because of it. You’ll be able to forge through again. But for now just rest and re-coup with your cracked rib, and give yourself time to process this totally unfair news.

    And remember – I’m walking with you next September too!


  13. Kim

    Have you ever checked out the Hippocrates Institute in California? I’ve heard they have accomplished amazing things with alternative treatments. Keep believing!
    p.s. I’m sending you some of that wonderful raw organic chocolate…amongst other great ingredients it contains immeasurable amounts of love and gratitude!

  14. Susan Seads

    Leanne dearest, the first thing I did this morning was open your blog for I thought of you all day yesterday, praying that you would get some positive news. I’am devastated and heart broken at what you heard. I just know that once you are over the intial shock, you will forge ahead, gather strength and find that clinical trial that will kick this ugly beast out of your body. BELIEVE!
    You are so very loved by so many people you have never even met!
    Courage my dear. Love, Susan

  15. Lisa D.

    Dear Leanne:

    I think that you are so courageous to share your story with everyone – not only your close friends and family, but even complete strangers like myself. People need to know that this awful disease is affecting young women too, young mothers like us. Like you, I also look at my boys (ages 1 1/2 and 3) and pray that God lets me watch them grow up.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration to others. I know that once the initial shock of this setback subsides, you will face the future with determination. Wishing you only the best, and many more days, months and YEARS with your little girl.

  16. Aunty Carol

    You have become so much a part of our daily lives through your blog. My heart aches for you. You have been through so very many ups and downs over the last two years and it’s so unfair. You have weathered this storm amazingly and if you can possibly dig deep and pull from your reserve one more time. We love you Leanne.

  17. Laura

    Leanne, everyone on here has beat me to it by saying: I’m heartbroken about your recent news. I, like many of the people who follow your blog, am a virtual stranger. Please know that I wish more than anything that there was something I or any of us could do to make you feel better, even if it’s just for a moment. I am so incredibly devestated by your news. At the same time, your blog is a testament to your strength, it is a testament to the fierce love you have for your friends and family. I don’t know what the future holds for you or any one of us but one thing I do know is I will be praying for you, in particular that you are here to see your little girl grow up.

  18. BH in Jackson Hole

    There is an awesome tidal wave of light and energy comin’ at you… created from the collective positive emotions sent by the thousands of us who have been touched by your words. May it surge in, bolster your reserves, blind the darkness with its brilliance and let you continue to be more ferocious than the invader can ever be.

  19. michelle yee

    I feel like I have no words. I’m devastated for you. And feel this is incredibly unfair.

    You are an incredibly brave, courageous, brilliant and resilient woman, wife and mother. And we are sending you love love love and strength.

    Michelle + Greg

  20. Mia

    I want to see you. Let’s be together and cry together and talk. Let’s share baby stories and laugh…and cry some more. I am so utterly saddened and devastated by this horrific news. You are first thing on my mind in the morning and last in my thoughts before I fall asleep at night.


  21. Dimithri


    We read the blog the other night and waited for the results hoping that there would be positive news. I’m so sorry to hear this. I don’t think there is anything I can say to make you feel better, but hopefully we can all get together again very soon.


  22. Tess

    Dear Leanne,

    Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily!

    Tess & Derek

  23. Georg W.

    Leanne, I do not know what to say, funny or otherwise. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    Sending you my love and hope.

  24. holly

    Oh beautifulist creature, I just hate that you had to hear this crushing news. I am so sorry you have to keep facing this. I am so confused and angry and I want so badly to carry you if only for a while so you can gather the strength that I know you have to get through this part. We all could gently pass you back and forth so you could rest for a minute. Kisses on your head included. I love you my sweet.

  25. Barb T.

    I’ve thought of you often, but never reached out with an actual message. My heart is heavy for you and those close to you, whom I love and know on a closer basis. I am praying for good days. Good days, and lots of them….xo

  26. Lars

    Dear Leanne, you are the bravest person I know.
    I always knew you would become a famous writer but I just wish these last entries were of the fictional kind. I have nothing brilliant to tell you, other than this obviously sucks and that Tanya, myself and the kids are trying to send you as many cancer ass-kicking vibes as possible. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you or your family. Love, Lars.

  27. Andrea

    I am so devastated with the news that your cancer has not responded to treatment. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, I know that this is such a difficult and scary time. As someone going through treatment for her2 positive cancer as well, I just want you to know that I am thinking about you and praying that they find something, anything to stop your cancer in it’s tracks. I am so @#%$ angry that we have to be dealing with this when we should be spending our time raising our little girls.


  28. tricia

    Oh leanne
    I’m so sorry you have to go through this.
    I have been thinking about you all week.I keep thinking about how you wrote that standard chemotherapies haven’t worked for you. You are not a standard person, never have been. So perhaps alternative therapies makes sense.
    I don’t know………. just a thought.
    Sending lots of good thoughts your way…hope and love. tricia

  29. Marie

    Leanne, I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and even though we are strangers I feel so many different emotions as you write from your heart. I think of you often and pray you will find a clinical trial that once and for all rids your body of this horrible disease.

  30. Lisa B.

    Cancer fucking sucks!

  31. Laura

    This news is beyond devestating and I bet we all wish there was something we could do to help–those of us who are your friends and those of us who are strangers and follow your blog. I have been keeping you in my prayers and I am hoping that something will be found to stop this cancer in its tracks. Please don’t give up hope. We’re all rooting for you.

  32. erica johnson

    hi leanne,

    i ran into tricia and eden at different times at the playground with our kids a while ago, and they told me about you and what you’ve been dealing with. wow. i can’t imagine what you’re going through. after reading the entries here i’ve been thinking of you a lot, remembering being in high school, and doing your play etc. i’ve been asking around to my friends who are involved in healing if anyone knows of a healer that might be able to help you. maybe this is not new information, but have you heard of wellspring? it’s a program run by sunnybrook hospital that is free for cancer patients – you can get all kinds of alternative treatments for free. i have a friend who volunteers there and she does craniosacral work, which is so incredibly relaxing and deeply healing. her name is lynn brandy and she works monday afternoons. she has such a nice calm energy. her email address is e.e.karuna@gmail.com if you have any questions. anyway the # for wellspring is 416 961-1928 if you are interested.

    also i want to offer if you ever need a massage let me know. i’d be happy to work with you free of charge. i last saw you maybe in 2002 right before i moved to hawaii. i worked as a massage therapist there and now i’m back in toronto. i’ve gone back to school to get my ontario license and the program is almost done. anyway i’d be more than happy to do some work with you. feel free to contact me anytime at racheljohnson@live.ca. rachel, you are saying? who’s rachel? well it’s a long story but it’s another name i go by.

    you are a beautiful writer. thank you for sharing yourself and your struggle so openly. it really moved me and i just feel i want to help you in anyway that i can.

    sending you love,


  33. molly & reed

    Leanne, Reed and I have been quietly following your blog for the past several months. We both have long been fans of yours – while we always admired your spark, and knew that you had that special something, as we have joined you on this journey, we are aware more than ever that you truly are something special. The brilliance of your writing and the graciousness with which you share the raw, authentic truth of this experience is truly a gift to all fortunate enough to read your words. And, in turn, with the honest openness that you receive the love and support of those that care for you so deeply, you model one of the fundamental principles of life.

    Rest in the loving energy of everyone wanting to give back to you now … and save your strength for the healing that WILL happen. Know that our love joins that of the so many others sending it your way daily…and may it collectively envelop every single one of those nodes, nodules, spots, lumps and bumps and melt them all away.

  34. Andrew Giles

    Hey beautiful, I really don’t know what to say.

    Or to be more truthful, I wish there were something anyone could say or do – to make this all go away once and for all. You’re an inspiration Leanne. Always have been.

    To reiterate someone else’s apt comments above, “I am so confused and angry, and I want so badly to carry you, if only for a while so you can gather the strength that I know you have to get through this part. We all could gently pass you back and forth so you could rest for a minute.”

    We’re all behind you L. Much love.

  35. Deb Alleyne

    Piss off, Evil C! Leave Leanne alone!

  36. Gail Tondino

    My dear sweet Louanne – I just read your March 10 entry and feel I could have written that in 2002, 2003, 2004. You have captured my experiences, emotions, etc. to the letter…..
    And here it is 2010 and on February 4 I went to see my oncologist for the last time, he last statement being: “YOU ARE CURED!!!’

    My love, you keep hanging on to hope. I spent so many of my ‘in-treatment’ years actively involved with Tht Canadian Lung Cancer Society, and I know the president so very very well, you say the word and I will pull out any stops you think will help.

    I too was told, even though part of my lung was removed, went through chemo and radiation, had a relapse, went through radiation again, that the cancer would show up in my bones!!!! not so – not so – not so – It has taken from March 2002 to February 2010 to hear YOU ARE CURED –


    I cannot tell you how often I think of you and send my loving healing thoughts your way – you are ALWAYS close by


  37. Gail Tondino

    I knocked myself off – wasn’t finished –

    Just want to say I love you sweet sweet lady

    Always in my heart – would love to talk / see you!!

    ‘hugs and kisses ‘Glenda’

  38. Leanne

    I come back here to this page of comments every now and then just to reread all these messages and feel that tidal wave of support. And what a nice surprise to find new posts from old friends…It doesn’t make it go away but it makes it so much easier to bear.

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