a surgeon, his recommendation was to remove and biopsy the hard lump with a lumpectomy. I agreed and on June 6, 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and unclear margins. I was not given a biopsy before the surgery.
“Life is just not fair,” I thought. I had never been sick in my adult life, not even a severe cold. I was in the middle of planning my wedding, which was supposed to be an exciting and joyous occasion; yet now the only thing I could think about was breast cancer and will I live or will I die. The life I had planned was now being shattered. I knew nothing about breast cancer. The
remote conversations I had engaged in were generally limited and daunting.
A close friend who was familiar with health care suggested that I proceed with a second opinion at a breast cancer facility. I am so glad I followed his advice. The cancer center provided me with the knowledge I needed to move forward in this unfamiliar territory. My choice of treatment was a modified radical mastectomy, with delayed DIEP Flap reconstruction and chemotherapy.
I later participated in a five-year clinical trial for nodenegative breast cancer; then proceeded with genetic testing for the sake of my children (The genetic test was negative.) During my appointment in April 2007, I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, this time in the left breast and the tumor was found close to my armpit.
My family, church, The American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program and my future husband were very supportive. I was truly surrounded by their love. Yet at times I knew they really didn’t understand the emotional turmoil that was going on inside of me. These feelings took me to a place of loneliness and isolation, so I turned to “Journaling” which gave me comfort in knowing my inner feelings would not be judged or compared to others. Journaling gave me the opportunity to see the small everyday victories. I began to realize my cancer diagnosis
was not about fault, or default. It was about learning how to use moments of fear as opportunities to grow, to be patient, to love deeply and to give more unconditionally.
Today I work as a Breast Cancer Advocate in Baltimore, Maryland. I am a volunteer and trainer with the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery Program. I am also the author of My Pink Journey in Black & White and over 35% of the proceeds will be donated to helping women under the age of 35 with breast cancer. (Amazon. com/author/lindastansbury)
“Knowledge empowers you.”
“For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness;
But of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7