My Gregtopus Teacher

This title is a very deep cut. In order to understand it, you need to be aware of the 2020 BAFTA and Academy Award winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher, which is about a man who befriends a deep-sea octopus and of course, my tumor Cousin Greg.

The title’s true meaning will become crystal clear a bit later in this story, but for now, just let it wash over you in all of its oddity.

I had surgery to remove Cousin Greg, the tumor, on 1.11.22. As far as surgery goes, things went swimmingly. They palpated for him, felt his presence, checked scans and went on in to remove him. I woke up, I felt like shit, life moved on.

It is here where I need to refer you back to a blog post of yore. The post is called PSYCHE! and it was published on 5/24/2016. Please take a moment and read this short post. Join me back here when you are ready.

The moral of PSYCHE! is that something unexpected happened in the world of pathology. The 2% that should never be you ends up being you. Well, ends up being me.

I love the saying ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice,’ but that bitch lightning be trippin’ and she seems to always be coming for me.

The odds of pathology finding no metastases in 2016, after my mastectomy, were ever in my favor. They found it. The odds were ever in my favor that my cancer would not recur. It recurred. And the odds of them finding nothing interesting in Greggy were ever in my favor and GUESS FUCKING WHAT.

I received, you guessed it, a call from an unknown caller at 4:30pm last night. It was my beloved breast surgeon. I already knew. I felt the rumbling deep in my soul (bowels?).

I took this silly selfie no more than 30 seconds before the phone rang. Ah, blissful ignorance is so lovely.

She said that my 1cm tumor (sweet, sweet Greg), had somehow, wait for it, grown TENTACLES and nary a single margin north, south, east or west was clean. Greg was now at least a 4.5cm octopus.

TENTACLES?! Please tell me you are laughing. I still have cancer and now it has tentacles. I truly cannot. Just can’t. Nope. Goodbye.

Another piece of news this pathology gave us is that there is suspicion that this is a new primary tumor and not a recurrence. This would be bad. This would potentially mean chemo again. And a worse one, at that. This is all so new. I don’t have much information on this yet, but I can tell you that I hate it.

So where does this leave us? The truth is that this is evolving very quickly. I am currently scheduled to have another surgery next week to re-dig Greg and his freaking tentacles out of my body. The surgeon sees this as another melon-balling, but this time taking way more skin, fat, muscle and my nipple.

I spoke to my radiation doctor today. She said now that my 1cm tumor is a 4+cm tumor, I will likely have 6 weeks of radiation. I can’t even be bothered to care about this right now, as radiation always goes last.

I have some friends (you know who you are 🦜) who are well connected in the cancer world and within an hour of this bad news last night, I had sent my pathology report out to the head of pathology at Northwestern. These experts generally seem to corroborate that going for a deep dive to remove tissue is the best idea.

My friend Dr. Carrie Wambach, a pillar of the Southern California fertility community, got me an hour-long telehealth call with a star in the breast cancer world this evening, Dr. Kristi Funk. Is it costing more than 2 months of car payments? Yes. Is it worth it to have a second opinion from one of the best? Also yes.

So I will have a Covid test tomorrow and go back into quarantine for surgery next week, except for a likely PET scan Monday. I can’t believe this. I mean, in a way I can because I am that guy who gets all those things, but damn, am I sad about it. I feel like I’m walking too close to the sun.

I was so happy to bid ol’ Greg adieu and yet here he is, with his gangly tentacles dug into my flesh.


This card actually arrived at my house from the hospital.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Doris Bergman says:

    Beyond shitty. Damn it. I’m way beyond sorry. I’m typeless


  2. Donna says:

    No fucking words. Just sending you a hug.


  3. Karen E Bachman says:

    Sitting in the early morning dark….crying tears for you…oh Grace…


    1. Plum says:

      I never liked the name Greg…fuck him.


  4. Katie says:

    Well Greg’s the biggest asshole yet! Beyond that I’m at a loss for words! I’m so sorry this is happening again!


  5. Mary Fauls says:

    Mommy loves you. This sucks for you, but everybody loves you. You’ve got a good MD team. 💖💐


  6. Heather says:

    I have no words for this, other than nobody deserves a Greg in their life, most especially you!! Greg is a fucking asshole. You will continue to be supported by everyone who loves you…💗. Sending big hugs and prayers your way.


  7. Wendy Nichols says:

    Oh Grace this breaks my heart. I’m so sorry to hear that Greg is a bigger bastard than anyone could have thought. You and your family are in my prayers!! ❤️❤️❤️


  8. Kathy N says:

    Greg sucks- but I feel kinda sorry for him- he doesn’t know who he’s fucked with. Just sayin…
    Love you Grace, hang in there!


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