When Kathy asked me if she could use my name on the Coffee for the Cure label I thought, “Oh, no, that just wouldn’t be right when my biopsies turned out to be non-malignant.” And even today, seven weeks later, I feel a sense of guilt because I am one of the lucky ones who received good news. I pray daily for the brave ladies whose journey through breast cancer diagnosis didn’t stop when mine did. And I am thankful to have, once again, experienced a heightened sense of gratitude for the everyday blessings I too often take for granted.
My story officially started with a routine mammogram the day after Memorial Day and this chapter ended two weeks, three mammograms, three ultrasounds, and two biopsies later. It was a long wait in which I had little to rely on but internet research to try to figure out what was going on with my body. I’d had abnormal mammograms and even biopsies a decade ago that turned out well, but this time I was filled with fear. The fear was not even so much even related to what the future would bring, but because I’d faced health issues in the last five years that had depleted my energy and that I felt might be related to the diagnosis.
I was afraid I didn’t have the strength to avoid being swept along as a patient instead of being a partner in my health care. As it turns out, I didn’t have to utilize my energy in that manner, but it has inspired me to use my energy in a way that can ultimately support Deb, and Peg, and the other mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, spouses, and friends and families as they walk this path they didn’t choose.
I know Favorite Cowgirl Coffee is taking on this mission deeply, from the heart, and I am honored that I have been able to walk my personal walk with such caring friends and family. Through each trial I’ve experienced in life, I’ve become ever more aware of the considerable challenges others face. I simply hope to be a small part of the body of people that offers prayers and practical support for individuals and brings a cure for all women.
Level: 3 (aggressively growing)
— Margins NOT involved, and NOT in lymph nodes
— No vascular invasion, size of the tumor was 2.4cm
When you are planning your schedule for summer, horse shows, trail rides, weddings, races, etc,. you don’t think you have to plan “Getting cancer and going through treatment’ into the calendar. When I heard my surgeon look at me with the most sympathetic eyes, and gently tell me that my results did come back cancer, once of my first thoughts was, ‘No, I don’t have time, see…look at my calendar, all booked up!”
Well, that’s not how this works and I knew that. My calendar suddenly emptied with then quickly filled with biopsies, surgeries, more doctor visits than I can keep track of!
Going back to the middle of that Friday night, when a lump that my hand ran across woke me from a dead sleep, I knew this was a possibility. OK, so now was the reality of dealing with cancer, maybe I won’t need anything major— no chemo, radiation, maybe a surgery to get rid of it— easy in and out, right??
First step was deciding my route, I decided on a bilateral double mastectomy, with implant reconstruction. IF the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes, I won’t need radiation, and can begin reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. Results were in my favor!! YES! The mastectomy done, reconstruction started, healing well, I am starting to feel a little like myself again.
THEN I meet with my oncologist who adamantly recommends 4 rounds of chemo 3 weeks apart. Crap.
Since my type of tumor is triple negative (not sensitive to estrogen), and a level 3 tumor (fairly aggressive), it was my best course of treatment. OK OK! I start Chemo tomorrow and fully plan to continue my life as scheduled. I will workout, run, go to ball games, hang out with friends, go to the lake, etc. If I take an extra nap, or skip a workout or two, so be it! I may have cancer, but I REFUSE to let it run every aspect of my life.
From the day I was diagnosed, I have felt that this process is harder on the people closest to me, rather than me. I can control how I deal with everything (for the most part), but it’s hard for others to know how to help. Well, I really don’t know either, other than to just be there, and like to talk about cancer because for me, it helps. I have days that I am annoyed by everyone living their normal life, and complaining about little things that not too long ago, I used to also complain about.