I can still remember that fateful summer day of July 11, 2005, when the truck that ran over us both, just kept going, it left us blindsided with the devastating news: “I’m sorry but you have breast cancer.” As that moment in time stood still and we were numb with fear. We had no idea how much our lives would be forever changed.
Between trying to breathe, I tried to take it all in. I watched as this beautiful, healthy woman stood before me a tearful, lost child about to have the fight of her life. We cried together and wondered why, but cancer does not discriminate. It chooses it’s victims at random.
Tammy has been my partner, by best friend and my soul mate for almost 20 years. It simply was not an option to imagine my life without her! When cancer preys upon you and those you love, it changes your entire world. I now took on the role of warrior and I was ready for the fight ahead. Off we went to doctor’s appointments, one-after-another surgeries, and one-after-another, terrifying nights in the hospital, recovery and chemotherapy.
As a nurse, I can tell you the view is very different form the other side of the fence. It was very difficult to watch as Tammy battled and wrestled with this demon of cancer; to lose her breast, try to rebound after an agonizing reconstruction, lose her hair & suffer through chemotherapy.
Through it all, Tammy never complained. She was never defeated, nor did she ever lose her sense of humor. She taught me the true meaning of strength, determination, courage and most of all love. Cancer is very isolating. It slams you into a corner and forces you to examine your life and define what’s important and what’s not. It makes you face your own mortality. The whole experience was very surreal. Nothing grabs a hold of your life like the chance that it might be taken from you in an instant.
Tammy is now a 3 year survivor. Cancer has taught us both many things, but mostly to be thankful for everyday and to take nothing, or no one, for granted. For that I am grateful. We are very blessed to have such caring & supportive friends & family.
We now have a greater appreciation for each other, our dogs, our family & friends, our angels, life and the world around us. It’s funny how life works out, because of Tammy, I am now an Oncology Research nurse, working diligently to find a cure.
To quote a previous co-survivor, “It is an honor & a privileged to be someone’s best friend and more so to be a co- survivor” I couldn’t agree more!
Tammy is my hero & I am blessed!