I had just returned from a beautiful two week vacation with my daughter in the Caribbean. We had never done a mother/daughter trip before – leaving my husband and two sons behind – but I was so glad we did it. We shared quality time together; and she got to see the island where I was born.
A month later I was faced with the worst news I had ever received – “you have breast cancer.” I had just had myannual ob/gyn examine, which included a breast examination in which no lump was felt, so I was totally shockedwhen they said they detected “something” in the mammogram.
When I returned to have the mammogram repeated, I had convinced myself that there was a mistake and the second test would surely clear me of any positive results. After all, there was no family history. Unfortunately, I was wrong. There was something there, way back in my chest wall and they needed to do a needle biopsy to see what they were dealing with. That test proved that I in fact had breast cancer.
It was the Labor Day weekend of 2010. I had to wait until after the long weekend before I could see a doctor and find out the results of the needle biopsy and to discuss the best course of action. My husband and I decided not to tell anyone until we had all the facts from the doctor. The holidayweekend was a blur; I cried a lot but had to hidemy feelings from my children; that was very hard to do.
My faith in God got me through though. I prayed a lot that weekend; I think more than I ever had in the past. By the time I saw the doctor that following week, I had put all my worries and concerns in God’s hands and somehow kneweverything would be okay.
The tumor was small and contained, and after a very lengthy discussion with the surgeon, it was decided a lumpectomy would be the best route for me. A week later, the lump was removed and it was determined that no lymph nodes were involved. Thank God! However, further tests showed that I had triple negative breast cancer;and that meant I had to receive six months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation.
I started chemo in October and finished in March. I remained relatively healthy during treatments and didn’t need to take much time off from my job. I lost my hair; my fingernails and toenails turned black. Radiation started in Mayand continued until the end of June. My hair is back; my nails are normal again. I continue todeal with neuropathy as an after effect of one of the chemo drugs but I know and believe one day that will be gone too.
Cancer is part of my history, but it is not my life. It has changed me in many ways. I don’t takethings for granted anymore. I wake up each day, and before my feet hit the floor I make sure to thank God for another day. I am thankful for all the blessings he has granted me, and the wonderful life he has provided for me and for my husband, family, and friends that have been supportive to me – especially when I needed them the most!