As a career nurse who has spent 14 of the last 40 years working in hospice, I never expected to have to face my own mortality sooner than later. As far as breast health, I thought I was on top of it. I had done everything instructed and knew how to perform a breast self-check and got yearly mammograms.
I have no family history of breast cancer, and am an African American woman who took care of herself and others without blinking an eye…..Until July 9, 2015. That is when I heard the words breast cancer. Having a good attitude and a positive one helps me. I enjoy laughter and enjoying life. After a stressful start for this unrequested journey, I’m doing good. I endured a change in oncologist even before treatment started, the stress of the diagnosis only 3 months after starting a new job, moving to another state, with another change in my healthcare team, a blood clot in my lung, a mini stroke and depression.
I still feel blessed and thankful for every single day. Many of those days are with pain, but I go forward. Not just for me and my husband but for my adult children and my grandchildren. I have a large support system and, yes, I feel lonely and isolated many days; its normal but I don’t linger in self-pity, anger or other grief emotions.
You aren’t alone, I’m here to be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, arms for a gentle hug and words to encourage when needed.