The Abandoned Boob Chronicles

The Abandoned Boob Chronicles: My Story

I keep fighting, and life keeps throwing obstacles. At forty, I’ve joined ranks as the one in eight women who receives a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. Two years earlier, my husband of sixteen years abandoned me. And for good measure, add an entire life lived in the shadows of a bipolar mother. Cancer? Bring it on. I’ve got this. Life has schooled me well.

Asking for help is at best awkward and at worst torturous for a fiercely independent soul such as myself. But that’s exactly what I need—whether it be as positive vibe giver, reader of my words, social media sharer, or financial contributor. Feel free though to go all in and do all of the above! The success of this campaign depends on it.

What I can give to you is my tale. It’s not just a story about breast cancer. This diagnosis has only provided the structure for framing my narrative. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and it’s a long damn story. I’ve hedged for years over what I should be writing. It’s time for me to do what I do best, which is write about life as I know it in hopes of connecting with others. Authenticity is my superpower. What’s yours?

There’s a reason I have the word resilient tattooed on my upper back. I won’t let you down. I will fight. And I will win. I always do.

In future weekly updates over the course of a year, I will share the details of my diagnosis and treatment. I will do so in narrative nonfiction fashion. I’ll start with how my love discovered the lump via a handful of playful morning boob, and also tell about the out-of-body experiences that transpire the night after being infused with too high a dose of steroids.

As the owner of Word Bank Writing & Editing, I make a modest living. When my ex got into a taxicab in January 2015 and never came back, I had many choices to make. Rather than return to teaching high school English, I hustled to take on more editing clients. For the first time ever, I began 2017 with projects booked three months in advance. This persnickety breast cancer diagnosis has changed all that.

As of July 31, four months of donations to this GoFundMe campaign coupled with some projects from regular clients have kept me afloat while I've gone through sixteen chemotherapy treatments. With surgery looming, my project queue is practically dry.

Taking on new clients won't be possible until I'm healed and know how much fatigue radiation treatments will cause.  In the meantime, I'm re-designing my website and taking part in a monthly business mentoring group to ensure I can hit the ground running come 2018.

This is the first time I’ve probably ever really asked for help. Being self-employed and living on one's own while dealing with a life-threatening illness is beyond stressful. A measure of assistance from my parents has finally kicked in six months after diagnosis when I reached my breaking point and made an emotional call to my hard-of-hearing hardrock miner father.

Some people have asked why I don’t move home for more support. The most obvious reason: I am an adult. I live less than ten minutes from a branch of St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI). I love my little yellow house and the peacefulness of working from home. My parents are aging and my quirky mining hometown of Wallace, Idaho one of isolation and poverty (and a bevy of other depressing demographics). My life is in the Treasure Valley, not the Silver Valley.

My love has offered for me to come stay with him if I end up getting really sick, but since this is the first time in my life I have ever truly lived on my own, I am determined to remain independent. I love him dearly, but given all I have been through, shacking up with someone is not in my cards in the foreseeable future. Been there. Done that.

It’s hard to put a monetary amount on what will help see me through. Even if I don’t meet my goal, please know I am able to withdraw funds at any point during the campaign. 

What Your Contributions Will Help Cover:

1. Living expenses such as mortgage and groceries
2. Health insurance premiums and deductibles
3. Business expenses such as a replacement laptop
3. Credit card debt incurred from my hideous divorce
5. Tattoos to cover scars from surgery

I had initially planned to send a portion of the contributions to my therapist who has been seeing me as her pro bono case for over two years. Unfortunately, my AC unit needed replaced in June. She has told me not to worry about it, but that's easier said than done. I still plan to send her funds as I am able, even if it's a pittance.

When my marriage fell apart, the therapist who came into my life didn’t abandon me.  Not only does she specialize in the type of addiction my ex was dealing with, she also has a daughter who has gone through breast cancer. Having this person in my corner has made a huge difference in my life's new direction. 

Part of me feels like a bum panhandling on a street corner. But you know what? I once rolled down my window and gave a couple of grubby hitchhiking kids a twenty-dollar bill and it felt pretty damn great. If you help me, I promise to pay it forward into the universe when the time is right.

Feel free to follow me on my Twitter and Instagram accounts.


Jeri Walker
Nampa, ID

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