I found the lump in my breast in November 2011 after doing a self-exam while on a business trip. I was not a regular self-exam kind of girl – more like sporadic – whenever I could remember to do it is a more accurate description. After finding the lump, I prayed – HARD. The thought of this lump being cancer was more than I could imagine, especially since I had just gotten my life back on track from my mom losing her 5 year battle with ovarian cancer.
I already had my annual physical scheduled with my doctor for a few weeks after my business trip. Each day, I checked my breast. I guess I was hoping the lump would just go away. My doctor felt the lump as well and ordered a mammogram. Now, I had a regular mammogram in March 2011, so to have another one 9 months later wasn’t something I was looking forward to. Needless to say, the results of this mammo required a biopsy. And that’s when the reality of what was happening set in. I am a God fearing, praying woman so when my reality set in, my faith went into overdrive.
The biopsy was scheduled for December 31st. I had the procedure that morning and deejayed at our Annual New Years Eve Party that night. It was important for me to stay mentally and spiritually focused so my husband was the only person who knew what was happening. I wanted that night to be full of smiles, laughs, love, friends and family. A few days later on January 4th, 2012 I received the call from my doctor that would shake me to the core. “It’s cancer” are the only words I heard. I felt numb and nauseous at the same time. It was the most surreal moment I’ve ever experienced. The myriad of thoughts running through my mind were almost too much to handle at once. How am I going to tell our daughter? My father? My sister? My extended family and host of friends? What’s next? Am I going to die? What will happen to my family if I’m not here to take care of them? This could not be happening to me. Better yet, WHY is this happening to ME? I watched my mom fight her hardest for years to beat this demon called cancer. Through all of her chemo treatments, all of her doctors appointments, all of her surgeries – she fought. My sister and I were her biggest cheerleaders. Taking care of her during her last 6 months of life was extremely tough and to finally lose her was unbearable. So, to embrace what I was about to face required strength that could only come from God.
My first response to my doctor was ” I am going to beat this”. And her response back to me was ” I do not doubt that you are.”
My next step was to figure out a plan. Meetings with surgeons and oncologists to determine the best healthcare team for my diagnosis soon followed. Knowing that my mind was all over the place, I recorded every consultation so that I could review each conversation before deciding how to move forward. Ultimately, I decided on a mastectomy and reconstruction and was immediately scheduled for surgery. I will never forget the effect chemo had on my mom and I did NOT want to endure that, so when my oncologist recommended Tamoxifen (one pill daily) as my treatment I cried tears of joy, did back flips in her office and thanked God for sparing me from what could have been another difficult part of the journey. Six months after my mastectomy, I had another surgery as part of the reconstruction process.
Today I am two years CANCER FREE and thank the Lord daily for a complete healing and strength to keep my body healthy. It’s a struggle some days, but I am determined to keep kicking cancer’s butt 24-7-365.