Hope and Strength times 3
My life changed on November 22, 2010. It was the first time I heard the words, “I’m sorry Tammy but you have breast cancer.” After those words were spoken, my mind went blank and I heard nothing, not even the sound of me crying. When the initial shock wore off, my first thought was, “Oh my god, am I going to die?” Obviously, I did not die but I did not survive unscathed. 2 surgeries, chemotherapy, once every 3 weeks for 6 sessions, followed by 35 days of radiation. My body took a beating, I lost my hair, and food tasted like crap. After 3 chemotherapy treatments, I was ready to give up. Then I remembered my mom, who fought lung cancer. She was given 6 months to live but she never acted like she was given a death sentence. I knew I had a choice…either give up or show up. It was then that I decided to show up every day no matter how sick or tired I felt. In 2013, I was once again diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, the tumor was small so I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation. However, I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy. I thought that by removing both of my breasts, I would not get breast cancer again. How wrong was I! In 2016, my gynecologist found a lump on the side of my neck and requested a biopsy. Sure enough, my breast cancer had returned! Luckily, I only had to do 32 radiation treatments. After I was done with radiation, my oncologist suggested I start taking a shot monthly that would stop my hormone production because I was ER+ and PR+. It has been 5 years since I started taking the monthly hormone blocker shot called Faslodex and a daily pill called Anastrazole and my cancer has not returned. My cancer journey has been a never-ending roller coaster and sometimes can be overwhelming. However, I credit my survival to my family, friends, co-workers, and students who give me hope and strength to show up and fight every day.