My cancer journey started in May of 2012. I had for years, put off my annual mammogram like so many do. The cost, lack of insurance seem to be my excuse time and time again. After my Mom passed away in October 2011, my oldest sister phoned me 2 months later to share her devastating news. Stage 4 Mantle cell lymphoma. Well I thought, it really can’t get any worse, can it? My oldest sister’s news finally woke me up! No more excuses! So I went for my mammogram. Results of course wasn’t happy news. Onto a biopsy, MRI and then waiting for the doctor’s office to call. Days before Mother’s Day, I heard those dreaded words. “You have breast cancer”. My heart sunk. Shocked, angry and every emotion came to mind in a blink of an eye. I knew it would be so difficult, so frightening but I knew in my heart I could put up on hell of a fight. Telling my husband and daughter was difficult. Telling my Dad was heartbreaking. Just 5 months earlier he received the same news from my oldest sister. When I called my oldest sister, saying then, I now get it! How in the world can we both be going through this?! We both actually laughed out loud at first. Then of course the worry and the fear set in. Cried like I’ve never cried before. I was diagnosed with stage 2a invasive ductal carcinoma Her2+. I elected a bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction. My first surgery, I was left as skin sparring. No, not my wishes at all!
After I completed my treatments, I opted for another surgery to correct what the first surgeon left. The results I have currently are better than before but at this point, does it really matter? Though this journey there has been so many positives and negatives. My daughter has been by my side through it all. I can’t imagine doing this without emotional support. The negatives as of now, outweigh the positives. I learned if you have a supportive loving spouse, your love will grow stronger through your cancer journey. In my case, battling this disease, my husband 4 months ago decided he had had enough and abandoned myself and my daughter. Cancer changes your appearance, your heart and soul. The permanent side affects are very real. I knew for some time now, our marriage wasn’t as strong as it could have been. The cancer proved I was right. Not the man I should have been with these last few years. Not accepting the changes in me. The most important part of survival to me is to surround yourself with loved ones. Your family, a pet, support groups, anything. Reach out in any way you can. It’s what has gotten me through this and now, learning to pick up the pieces again to survive.
Where I owe the greatest thanks is to the Susan G Komen foundation. During my treatment, we lost our health insurance. My cancer center reached out to a breast cancer navigator and arranged a grant to continue with treatment. So to say your organization saved my life is an understatement! I am living proof, Komen saves lives! With a tearful and heartfelt thank you! I will always be great full and humbled for all you do!
I think I’m still here only to inspire others to try your best to fight this life changing disease..my heart aches for the men and women diagnosed with MBC. Their courage and strength far surpasses anything I’ve been through. My God bless us all My prayers I can continue to see my daughter live her life. Mostly importantly once again..God bless the Susan G Komen foundation for allowing me to survive. Not for pity, not for attention but to offer a voice. Never put off getting checked! Never make excuses! We’re here to help others with our stories. Form a friendship. Let everyone know their NOT alone. I send all my love and prayers to everyone from patients to their care givers..remember, we all share a bond now, we’re one big beautiful family ❤️
Lastly, this disease has allowed me to change for the better, be more patient, be more accepting of others, being the shoulder to lean on for my daughter. Living truly like today is my last. Maybe I’ll be able to lift someone’s hope after that dreaded phone call. I know in my heart, I survived to inspire others, to make a difference in my own life.
I’m still mending after all these years and praying many more to follow. Thank you again for allowing me to share.
Love and appreciation, Suzanne ❤️