I was only 34 years old when the doctors told me that the lump was cancer.Going into the biopsy, I wasn't really concerned.I'd had four prior surgeries over the last 10 years, and all had been benign. But this one was cancer. I was shocked. Not only did I have myself to worry about, I also had my husband and my two sons, ages nine andone year.
I was alone when I heard the diagnosis.I sat my husband down and told him the breast would have to go, and we wouldn't know if the cancer had spread until after the surgery.He looked into my eyes and asked me, "Deforia, what are you most afraid of?"
I said, "Seeing the hurt in your eyes."
Then he said, "If you die from this, where do you think you will go?"
I replied, "Well, of course I will be at home with the Lord."
He asked, "Are you sure?"
That made me get a little angry. "Of course I'm sure!"
He then said, "If you think the Lord loves you so much that He prepared a place for you, what makes you think He loves me and the boys any less?"
So, I took care of myself and let the Lord worry about the rest.I had surgery 10 days after I learned I had cancer, and started taking Tamoxifen. Ten months later, I had a recurrence of the cancer on the chest wall and was treated with radiation. I continued with the Tamoxifen, and I am still taking it now, 15 years later.My doctor feels that I am in a good remission state now, but I have chosen to stay on it.I guess it's a security blanket for me.I feel like I'm doing something to prevent the cancer from recurring.
After the recurrence, the fact that I'd had cancer hit me hard.I joined a support group, I Can Cope, through the American Cancer Society.At the conclusion of the six-week period, as we were all saying goodbye, I sang a song I had written for the group and all the wonderful friends I had met there.
As a result of the song, American Cancer Society sent me to a recording studio to put it on tape.I presented the tape at the hospital to thank them and to show them what music therapy meant to me through my recovery. I was going to school for my Ph.D. in Music Therapy while working full time, but the hospital asked me if I would be interested in introducing music therapy to their patients.Would I!I wrote a grant proposal describing how music therapy would help the patients and how I would measure their improvement.The American Cancer Society funded the grant, and I was able to purchase musical instruments and other necessities to help my patients. Before the grant period was even over, the hospital asked me to come on board permanently and continue to work with their patients.
Deforia Lane is currently the Resident Director of Music Therapy at the University Hospitals of Cleveland Ireland Cancer Center and holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from Case Western Reserve University. She has designed and implemented music therapy programs for diverse populations, including cancer patients, mentally handicapped, abused children, geriatric clients and others, and continues to grace the patients and staff with her beautiful voice and loving heart.
Sandra M. Mitchell