Lisa J. Reeves
in for my annual mammogram – full disclosure, I did skip it in 2016 and my doctors told me had I skipped it that year, I wouldn’t have made it through the summer of 2017 because the cancer was very aggressive. They found the lump and immediately sent me for a biopsy. Please women, go annually for your mammogram. It can save your life.
My mom, who is also a survivor, was with me when I got the phone call and she immediately called her oncologist. He already knew me because I would bring my mother to her treatments. I started chemotherapy and it was hard and fast. It was discovered that both my mom and I have the BRCA 2
My treatment consisted of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. The chemo lasted five months, March to August. In August, my right breast was removed. I then had radiation but for only 1.5 months. They stopped midway because my skin was starting to burn from my neck to my waist.
In January 2018 I had surgery to remove my ovaries as a preventive measure. In June of 2018 I had my left breast removed completing my bilateral mastectomy and started reconstruction surgery. Unfortunately, it didn’t go smoothly, and I was in the hospital for three weeks. I was fine, though the results were just not as symmetrical as we had hoped. But I survived and that is what mattered.
August 2019 was my final surgery completing the reconstruction. I now take Anastrozole, a hormone medicine, for the rest of my life because of the aggressive BRCA 2 gene that I have in my blood.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer, I had support from my family, coworkers, God sisters, and the Cancer Society of Westchester. My coworkers gave me their sick and vacation time on days I couldn’t make it in after chemo or radiation. My son was in college, but he called often and he and his best friend from high school picked me up a couple of times from the hospital or would sneak me a snack.
I was linked with the Cancer Society of Westchester and worked with Ms. Winton. She assisted me in getting book money for my then-college freshman son. They also helped me connect with Meals on Wheels which provided meals for me and my daughters. My daughters, who were 12 and 15 at the time of my diagnosis, were helpful with heating up food and even changing my dressings.
My car needed of work, but I couldn’t afford the repairs, so my brothers arranged to use it as a tradein for a reliable car and paid for the car payments and gas for the first six months.
Last but certainly not least, my God sisters came through with everything from money for food to caring for the girls when I went for various surgeries.
Counting from my date of diagnosis, which was February 2017, I’ll be a six-year survivor in 2023. After surviving my battle with breast cancer while at the same time struggling with a child in college, I felt compelled to do something for others in my situation.
Thus, the birth of the Phoenixx Phoundation, which took flight in the summer of 2021. Come visit at: https://www.thephoenixxphoundation.org/