I was 28 years old when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At 47 years old, I can still visualize finding that lump in my breast. One morning, as I was getting out of the shower preparing for work, I felt a strange knot in my right breast. I remember thinking what was this, where did it come from, and why didn’t I feel it yesterday? I called my Mother and told her what I felt. In “Mommy Mode” as always, she told me to call my Dr.’s office and schedule a Mammogram. Normally, I wouldn’t listen to her and would say okay so she would leave me alone, but this time I listened. I called my Dr.’s office and told them I felt a lump. I scheduled a mammogram and waited for the results. I wasn’t worried. I was 28 and breast cancer didn’t run in my family. The pathologist read my results, confirmed there was a tumor, and he referred me to a breast surgeon. I went there for a biopsy which came back benign. I asked if I could have the lump removed because I didn’t feel comfortable with it in my body. My mother, the surgeon and I agreed to remove the tumor because that would be in my best interest.
In December 1999, I had the first of many surgeries to come. When the surgeon removed the mass from my breast, no one was prepared for its size. According to my surgeon, it was one of the largest he had seen at the time. He sent the tissue to the pathologist for additional testing, which was common.
By January of 2000, I was preparing to return to my job and went for my follow-up visit. At the time, I had no clue I wouldn’t return to until September of that same year. As I talked with my Dr., he told me they found cancer cells in the tissue that was removed. In shock, I ask if I was going to die. He said, he couldn’t tell me, no, and he couldn’t tell me yes. He asked if I believed in God. I said yelp, sure do. He said, then you need to pray, have faith that you will live, and be prepared to fight. I called my Mom when I left his office, I don’t remember what was said that was the only moment in time that I can’t recall. The next couple of months I had four additional surgeries, 13 weeks of chemotherapy and nine weeks of radiation. This was the biggest struggle of my life, but I survived.
Today I see life through a different lens. I appreciate every day for I was given a chance to live that most don’t get. I realize that the outcome isn’t always the same for everyone, and I don’t take that for granted. I try to remember no matter what I’m going through, I have to give it to God and let him help me fight my battles. I try to appreciate the small things in life and let the rest fall in place. I hope you enjoyed reading about my story and remember to smile; you might just brighten someone’s day.