I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal cancer in February 2010. It was stage 3. I went through six months of chemotherapy, surgery, then radiation. Although the news was not anything I ever expected, the journey through all of it brought tremendous blessings to my life and for those blessings I am thankful.
I had my port catheter (for chemo) removed a month ago and I finally feel like cancer is truly behind me. I still see Dr. Pippas and Dr. Ciuba at The John B. Amos Cancer Center and will continue to meet with them for several more years. That facility is a tremendous asset to our community.
I learned from my experience with breast cancer that each day is a gift and each day is a step further in our lives. It showed me what is most important, even things I knew but had taken for granted: a real relationship with God, time with my husband and sons (and now a daughter-in-law), taking care of myself, and being an encouragement to others.
We all have tough things to go through. We are all trying to survive something. My experience with breast cancer and now surviving it helps me to empathize more with others going through tough times.
My mother was diagnosed with a different type of breast cancer in January 2011. My experience with my own cancer helped me to be more of a help to her. Fortunately hers was caught very early and her treatment was different from mine.
Having no history (that we know of in our family) of breast cancer for the two of us to be diagnosed within 11 months of each other was bizarre. But again, there was blessing in that as well. My journeying ahead of her helped her to go through it.
I was surprised when I was asked to be the featured survivor at this year's Cancer Awareness Banquet. I hope that my story offers hope to those coming along behind me as well as offering hope to those in their families who will come along beside them to care for them.
My husband, Rob, was and still is my constant companion through all my appointments and treatments. We prayed often together and it drew us even closer together. It's funny how devastating news can be a glue to bind people even more firmly together. See? Yet another blessing from cancer.
I am blessed and thankful. I wouldn't trade the blessings that came from my experience for not having had cancer.