Treatment: Mastectomy, Chemotherapy, Radiation
I am 36 years old and a breast cancer survivor. I was 32 when I discovered a lump in my left breast, and on that day it felt like the earth stopped turning. I tried to remain positive and kept telling myself that I was way too young to have breast cancer. But a biopsy revealed that I did.
I had some anxiety about what was going to happen to me and what I would go through. Unfortunately, I was not able to avoid having a mastectomy, which was another big pill to swallow. My doctors encouraged me to have reconstructive surgery at the same time as the mastectomy. One week before Christmas in 2001, I had a mastectomy of my left breast and the first step in the reconstruction process.
Less than two weeks later, I started chemotherapy treatments. Once again, I felt very anxious about what I would experience, but my goal was to kill that big monster, Cancer. Lung cancer had taken my father's life when I was only nine months old, and I knew I had to fight to survive. It was easier to go through, thanks to all the love from the people who stood by me during my ordeal.
Chemotherapy was the toughest step in my recovery, both physically and emotionally. And when it was over, radiation therapy began—25 consecutive treatments! I just kept telling myself to take it one step at a time. I liked the technicians but I was sick and tired of being touched and getting treatments. But with courage and patience, the love of an exceptional husband and two marvelous kids, I endured it and so can you.
I have been in remission for three years now, and I am listening to my body more than ever. Cancer transformed my life in a positive way. It made me realize that life is so beautiful but much too short. Each and every second should be lived fully and with intensity. We never know what the future has in store for us.
This year I participated for the first time in the Breast Cancer 3-Day® here in Seattle. It was the most incredible experience. I met many amazing people along the way who have touched my heart and soul in many different ways, and I have learned that almost everyone has a cancer story to share. I am so happy to have trained as hard as I did, so very grateful to my friends and family for their support and faith, and most of all for their patience. I am most grateful for all of the 2,400 people I walked with, and the breast cancer survivors whom I met, walked with and cried with.
My message to you is this: It is through the toughest obstacles that we discover our inner strengths. Stay courageous and positive and keep your life full of love. I also want to tell you how important events like the Breast Cancer 3-Day® are. I am living proof of that!