My name is Colleen Marie, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 31, 2019 at the age of 44. I woke up to a 7:30a.m phone call that changed my life, just a few months after losing my very best friend since childhood, to cancer.
I have been through two major surgeries just three weeks apart, including a radical hysterectomy to remove my ovaries and suppress any production of estrogen that would feed my cancer since I was not a good candidate for Tamoxifen, twenty-four treatments of radiation that left me with severe burns to the point of tears. Additionally, my recovery literally left me with visual side effects that have been traumatizing, to say the least. When you go through breast cancer, your femininity, dignity and self esteem is significantly diminished. You’ll do anything to just feel pretty, obtain some dignity, and just feel good about yourself.
I recently went through my biggest and most difficult surgery yet, reconstructing and reducing my breast tissue and damage to repair the radiation effects on my left breast. During the recivery, I developed open wounds and lost portions of my hair, due to developing alopecia from the stress and trauma on my body. I don’t know what I would without my mother, who was a retired CNA. She had no experience with wound healing, but she would change my dressings twice a day and come up with innovative ways to try to heal the wounds that even my surgeon couldn’t tell me. I couldn’t even look at the wounds, but my mom continuously took care of me everyday for weeks and tried to make me feel better about myself.