This morning I met with some people from the City of Bellevue about bringing derby classes to one of their community centers and had a wonderful meeting that felt like another door opening in my mission of mainstreaming this amazing sport.

Later in the day I sat in the office of a doctor I was about to meet to discuss my options of breast reconstruction following a mastectomy IF that is the route I take for my newly discovered breast cancer.

Earlier this week I had surgery for an excision of a couple of lumps, one of which needed to be looked at more closely than the earlier biopsy that hadn’t shown cancer. I’ve been recovering and was 100% certain that there was nothing to worry about.

I turned out to be the very slight percentage of people who are diagnosed with ductal carcinoma that they weren’t expecting.

My surreal visit included the following words:

lumpectomy and radiation
immediately if this or that

I didn’t understand his words and they just went into a big pile in my head where they hovered; they made me numb. Later, sitting next to my motorcycle in the sun they made me shake.

Last night I studied the report word for word and googled the parts that I didn’t understand. I read forums, blogs and stories. Pros and cons of this or that, and the more I read the more questions I had rather than answers. Yesterday I’d immediately leaned towards mastectomy but by bedtime had read enough to know that I couldn’t possibly know anything.

Knowing that I have two lumps near the center of my breast that happen to be the size they are and the other things that appear to be happening I questioned the radiation route but wanted to find out more. My appointment for the oncologist / radiologist was scheduled for later this week. I read that radiation might not be covered by insurance and wondered about that part.

When I sat in the waiting room today I had my first moment of fear and thought about the costs of all of it, of ANY of it. I already have about $4,000 I owe from what insurance didn’t cover from LAST week and now I’m adding a shit-ton MORE? I just sold my car to help buy me some time; my leagues have cost me everything in the world I had to start but haven’t yet been able to pay me back but it is SO CLOSE!!!… putting the car money in meant that the airplane COULD JUST MISS hitting the mountain top and I thought I’d pulled it off in the nick of time. I became tired and wondered if now I’d be a sick person until it was time to vanish.

Then I met the most wonderful woman.

What occurred to me is that maybe all of this happened to me because I have much more to learn. When I left her office I told them to cancel the appointment with the next doctor and schedule my mastectomy as fast as they can.

This is the woman who is a survivor herself and she shared a story that was so similar to mine that it stunned me. I’m going to go to her support group that she not only facilitates but she attends as a member. She gets it and I’ve never felt more confident in trusting a doctor than I did when I met her. My decision has been made and I know it is right.

Today I know that this cancer is not a death sentence but LIFE is everyone’s death sentence. We are ALL going to die and my motorcycle could crash before this stupid cancer could come back and when I go probably isn’t my call. This can be a big deal or it can be another THING that comes and goes in my life. This can define me if I let it but that isn’t going to happen.

Will the surgery suck? Yes. Will the recovery suck? Yes. Does it MATTER? Not in the big picture, no.

What matters is my DECISION of whether to choose to sit around feeling sorry for myself or keep trying my best to make the world a better place while I can.

I am HAPPY and this is nothing compared to what other people go through. How lucky am I to be able to come to this conclusion so quickly? I don’t know if it is luck, denial or insanity but I’ll take it.

I’m told that I’m inspiring and that is good to hear; I hope it is true. The truth is I am just a lady who struggles to make sense of this place and often I can’t make sense of it. I’m someone who, like everyone else is doing her best to cope with a world that can be really, really, really hard. I just happen to be crazy enough to believe that we can change to make it better if we believe that we can and if we work hard to do it.

Having all of this happen to me is forcing me to walk my talk; we can perceive things as bad when really they are opportunity.

Things ARE what they ARE regardless of how I’d like them to look. Taking action is the only thing that matters and feeling bad only hinders that action. Will I be overwhelmed tomorrow? Maybe. Will I want to give up? At times I expect to feel that way but only temporarily.

This is a great big opportunity for me to live those words and I’m excited to do so. FK’n A.

This is OK. Really ok. Look, I have a laptop! How crazy is that? And a tub that I can put hot water into and hop inside of. That is pretty damn lucky if you ask me.


About thehotflashseattle

I'm a person who found derby at JUST the right time in my life to give me hope, make me stronger and experience something that had been waiting for me all these years! My mightiest goal is to mainstream the sport of roller derby. My selfish goal is to help other people find ways to skate,connect and inspire each other to get back on track when they begin to slip off and help them up when they fall. Doing this helps me believe that there are others ready to do the same for me. In 2012 I had four surgeries, two of which were mastectomies and now at 57 I'm cancer free and back on track. Three years ago on this profile I claimed not to be a "great" coach but wanted to share what I knew. I am revising that statement at this time because I have figured out that I'm a survivor, a warrior and a damn good coach! I am the founder of OneWorld Roller Derby in the Greater Seattle area. We are sharing our resources to help other leagues form and we're creating a circuit that is coming together utilizing USA Roller Sports as a common link. We are bring roller derby to schools, colleges, parks departments and community centers across the US. Helping each other through the pack is what makes life work for me. In the world we get knocked down, get back up, reset and help each other through the pack. We look ahead for the holes to jump through. We gain momentum to find the endurance we need to be able to make it around the track one more time even when we don't think we can. Derby = life = Derby; It's all the same game to me.
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11 Responses to Wow.

  1. Jersey Joe Nardone says:

    Donna – thank you for sharing this with us. I want you to know that I am honored to call you a friend. I’ve been going through some major life changes and your post opened my eyes even more. I have no doubt that you will be perfectly fine and I agree that you (and I) have much more to learn. Please remember that I am always here for you. You know how to reach me if you’re down or just need a friend, but I can see that you have many close-by who can comfort or rally you. To me, you’re one of the best things that ever happened to OSDA and I hope one day you believe that OSDA is one of the best things that ever happened to you! Love ya!

    Jersey Joe

    • Hi baby brother. Thank you so much. I do belive that OSDA is for sure one of the best things to happen and I can’t WAIT to earn my title over there. For sure it is high on the list! It all fits perfectly into the puzzle as one of the pieces, xoxoxox

  2. Jennifer says:

    Wow. Kay, this blog is awesome. Being a nurse and someone who believes “the glass is half full”, I appreciate your positivity and honesty. If you haven’t started all ready, you need to write a book. I want to read more along the way about your adventure with cancer. Good stuff, girl.

    • Awesome Jennifer! I’d started to write a resource guide for derby leagues as a book. I HAVE thought about writing my story though; it is so ridiculously full of hurdles (Oh honey, you don’t know the half of it) that it really is to the point of being funny to me. WHATEVER, right? It’s the STORY… 🙂 xoxooxoxoxxo Thank YOU for the encouragement and kind words.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Donna, I love you woman. You have a big ass family of women that love you. Xoxo

  4. Anne Green says:

    Love you Donna Kay! You are in my mind and heart everyday….xxoooxxx

    • And you in mine, best girlfriend in the world……… my steadfast sister. What a comfort to have you here with me as someone who see’s who I am and into my heart. You are a big giant happiness bubble to me. Keep floating beside me.

      • Anne Green says:

        I will always be there right by your side like an invisible siamese twin. xxoooxxx

  5. Sheri says:

    Donna, you are a very positive, stong lady that will beat this! Your attitude tells me so, and they say that attitude is half of it. You a very much loved by many, including me.
    I am here to help however I can. OX

  6. kelarella says:

    Thank you for being such a reminder of the reality of life, and each moment is a gift. Stay strong…I send strength & healing!

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