Although breast cancer and chemo were an unpleasant experience, I have chosen the positive path after my diagnosis. I hold my family and friends a little bit tighter, I stop and smell the roses every day, I am very thankful for the little things in life, I pray a little longer, and I am truly grateful for the inspiring people I have met along the way.
I was diagnosed at the age of 49 with Stage 1, “Triple Positive” breast cancer in June, 2012 after a routine, yearly mammogram. This came as a complete shock, as no one in my family has ever had breast cancer. Now I was diagnosed with the big “C” – the word no one ever wants to hear. My world, as I knew it, fell apart. I was terrified.
After much distress and weighing all options, I chose a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I caught mine early but didn’t want to take the chance that I would have to do this again in the other breast.
My chemo treatments (medically referred to as TCH) began in November, 2012 under the care of my awesome Oncologist and the ever-wonderful staff at MBPCC. I completed my final chemo treatment on November 4, 2013. I rang “the bell” so long and hard, the nurses had to tell me to stop!
As an Office Manager, I was determined to work thru my chemo, which proved to be a real challenge. However, thanks to the support of my “working family” and boss (a melanoma survivor), I did it!
Being a single mom of 3 young adults and a very independent person, it was extremely difficult, at first, for me to “allow” others to help care for me. But this experience has showed me that it’s okay and necessary to need others. It also proved very well for my caregivers, who felt so strongly about be able to do something to help, as they otherwise, truly do feel helpless.
Shortly after my diagnosis, my 20 year old (at the time) daughter called and asked me to write 4 words on a piece of paper: Believe…….Faith……Hope…..Love.
She said she needed it for a college project. I complied, not knowing what she was up to. About 2 weeks later, she came to me and said she had a surprise for me. She raised her shirt and much to my surprise there was a rather large pink ribbon tattoo running down the length of her torso. Through the center was my handwritten word “Faith”. I was taken aback! The first thing I said was “Wow! That’s REALLY big!” The second thing I said was “I don’t know whether to kill you for getting a tattoo or love you even more”!!! What a tribute!
I surrounded myself with positive people: my parents, my children, my siblings, my extended family, my friends, my co-workers, and those who contacted me after many years of losing touch. There was ALWAYS a shoulder to cry on or a laugh to cheer me up!
And yes, I must mention, that I’ve met some amazing women thru my journey with breast cancer – other fellow survivors, the new “sisterhood” we have created. We came, we concurred, and we WILL survive! Because of the positive experience with breast cancer, I’m now more determined then ever to give back….to get involved…..and hopefully, spread even an ounce of love or a pinch of the assuredness I received during my trying time.
If my journey has revealed anything to me, it has shown me that I have NEVER, EVER FELT SO LOVED and the bond with these special people is stronger than I could have ever imagined. And for this, I am truly, truly blessed.