Breast Cancer Survivor
April 1 2016. April Fool’s Day. The day I received my breast cancer diagnosis. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I remember saying I am not going to cry. It is what it is and what’s the plan to get rid of it. I felt completely calm as they told me it was caught early and I would need to have the tumor removed and a few sessions of radiation. I remember walking out of there with the words “ I have cancer” running through my head. I had made the decision to go alone to receive the news and my kids were waiting. My husband works nights and sleeps days so he would be waiting until I got home to hear the results.
The actual worst part of that day was the painful sobbing and crying that came from my daughter when I called her. I could not get her to calm down and it just killed me to know she was that scared. My son was the opposite. He was very calm and wanted to know the game plan for his mom to beat it! It stunned me as when the possibility of cancer first was mentioned it was the complete opposite reaction! Terry also took it calmly and agreed it just had to be beaten because I am not a quitter.
Cancer, however, was not going to let me go so easy. Further testing on the biopsied material changed everything when it was determined that Triple Negative Cancer may be an additional concern. Triple Negative only occurs in 10-20 percent of breast cancer patients and usually in much younger ones. This would change everything as TNBC is an aggressive cancer with a higher reoccurrence rate and would require an aggressive treatment including chemo. That was the day I fell apart and cried for hours. I was going to be VERY SICK. I was going to be BALD! I wanted it out NOW!!!! But cancer doesn’t care what you want. I couldn’t get into the surgeon for a few weeks and the first available surgery spot for me wasn’t until June 18th. I was angry. The TNBC couldn’t be positively confirmed until the tumor came out so I didn’t know what to focus on!
The tumor was removed and the Triple Negative was confirmed. My treatment plan consisted of 16rounds of chemotherapy followed by a double breast reduction and reconstruction followed by 33 rounds of radiation. I did not EVER throw up although I lost my hair. I slept a lot and when I was exposed to any cold or flu symptoms since my immunity system was so low I would get sick with fever and chills. I remember telling my husband at one point that if I died, it was okay because I was so tired of the fight. But I never quit. Bikers for TaTa’s followed my treatment and videotaped my chemo sessions. They kept me in good spirits and helped me to put my focus on getting the message out there about early detection being the key. It became my “soapbox” and my salvation. I stayed positive and hardly ever let the fear show through. I was blessed with a great support team. My husband Terry, my daughter Brandy and my son Ryan, my 6 grandkids, my family, my co-workers and my friends. My son-in-law was able to revise his work schedule to take me to or from chemo if Terry couldn’t. I was very blessed!
I FOUGHT! I WON! BREAST CANCER CAN BE BEATEN. IT MAY BE HARD BUT THE PRIZE AT THE END IS SO WORTH IT! MAMMOGRAMS SAVE LIVES AS DOES MONTHLY SELF BREAST EXAMS! I AM A ONE YEAR SURVIVOR SINCE FEBRUARY 16, 2018. SPECIAL THANKS TO BIKER’S FOR TATA’S AND ALEX ALEXANDER FOR THE SUPPORT AND LOVE!