In Aug. 2016, my mom was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer with approximately 20 tumors in her peritoneal area. I was previously an oncology nurse, so I knew that this would be a tough one to beat. She started Chemo, which was every week for 14 weeks. My sister and I rotated taking her each week supporting her in her fight. On Oct. 27, 2016 I looked down and saw a lump. I had had an exam at my gynecologist 10 days’ prior because of my mom’s diagnosis. My mammogram was scheduled but with all my mom’s doctors’ appointments, I forgot about it. My doctor had done a physical exam so I should be fine, right? There was no way it could be breast cancer, my mom had cancer. How could both of us have cancer at the same time was a question I asked my husband. The lump literally popped up overnight.
On Oct. 31st, the result of my biopsy was positive for breast cancer. Both my husband and I were devastated. How could I support my mom in her treatment and take treatment? I debated telling my mom, she was already going through so much. I did tell her, but only after I got my port and could not hide it from her any longer. I started my first of 16 weeks of adjuvant chemo treatments for stage II triple negative breast cancer on Nov. 8 with Chuck Ellis my amazing husband by my side. I can never thank him enough for his support. My mom and I were taking chemo at the same place, shared nurses and even shared an oncology surgeon. On February 14th, I celebrated my last chemo with balloons and cupcakes for the chemo nurses. This was a happy day, but the day was bittersweet because on February 14th my best friend was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer. How could this be, my Mom and then me and now my best friend. How could cancer affect one person in so many ways? I did not understand. I once was told cancer is as common as the cold. I now believed it.
My mom went on to have surgery and follow up chemo and I went on to have surgery and radiation. Well if my 72-year-old mother could beat cancer so could I. In April, my mom was clear of cancer. In April I had my lumpectomy. In April, my best friend started her chemo at MD Anderson. In May, both my mom and I started to grow our hair back. In may my best friend lost her hair. In June I took my last radiation. In June, my best friend stopped her treatment. In July, my mom and I both celebrated recovery. In July, my best friend was admitted to hospice. In August I again celebrated my survival. In August, my friend lost her battle. It’s hard to be happy about recovery when someone close to you isn’t so lucky. I say God takes the best ones first. I have always been a little ornerier than her. In reality, I believe my relationships with God, my husband, and my mother have benefited from this horrible life event. I live to share my story with others so they do not feel alone. Isn’t it funny how all this started in August and ended in August. A lifetime worth of struggles all in one year. So, this is my story.