|I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing. First I thought, “Who are you to tell me this? How can you be sure? I don’t have any breast cancer in my family” I was stunned. Tears filled my eyes. How was I going to tell my devoted husband? How was I going to break the news to my children and their new families that their mom could be sick or possible could even not be around for their kids. Being a grandma was a dream for me.
I came into the waiting room, saw my mom and broke down. I told her what the Dr. said. As most women do when stressed out, we eat or shop. I will never forget that day. While shopping I called my Dr. I have had for almost 29 years and told him what they said. Within a week I had an appt with a surgeon and had needle a biopsy. Within a few days the results confirmed, I did have cancer. Crazy thing is that I didn’t have just any cancer. It was a very aggressive kind that if not caught early and removed I would have died within a year. I am very grateful for Mammograms and early detection..I lovingly call them “Smashograms” now.
The next days seemed to take forever. I had choices to make as to a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, or remove both. It is a long story of prayer and decision. I finally chose lumpectomy. It was performed on 1/20/08. Thank God I had no lymph node involvement and the cancer was localized.
Thinking that it was over I went to my next Dr. appt. , she gave me the news, that with this aggressive type of cancer, it was recommended to me “highly” that I have 4 rounds of chemotherapy, 1 every 3 weeks and 36 sessions of radiation. I was not ready for that news at all. I really thought since the margins on the surgery were good I shouldn’t have to go through the chemo, maybe radiation, but not chemo. Yes, vanity played into this. I have to admit, I liked my hair. I don’t think of myself as a beauty but I do like my hair. Needless to say I wasn’t willing to give up without a fight. We had two more opinions. Our last visit was to UC Stanford and I resigned myself to the treatments after a 3rd opinion. I did it for my family.
I am grateful for my Christian faith. There is an odd scripture in the Bible in Mark I never really understood. One of the signs of a Christian is “that they would take poison and it would not hurt them”. I held onto that verse with everything within me. Finally I had peace. March 21st I had my first Chemo treatment. 7 days later it all fell out. I was almost bald. So I went the final step and shaved it so I would be done with it.
I did where my wigs. They were fine for a while. Believe me, they are uncomfortable and sweaty but they worked for social situations, as when I went to Candidates nights while Curt was running for re-election.
So many amazing people, my family, church family and friends were supportive during my treatments and issues chemo brings. I have never received so much love, support, flowers, cards, candy, calls…, etc…I was truly blessed and support came even though I really hadn’t made it too public.
The hardest time came for my husband as he watched me try to be brave and strong. You have no idea what an amazing patient man he is. I can be a brat. He just took it, knowing I was not in my right mind. I was grumpy, exhausted, hot flashes that poured sweat off of me at unannounced moments and also days where I was just fine until the next treatment. Curt, at times, carried me through.
Chemo ended May 22, 2008. Radiation started 6 weeks later. I went daily to Reno for 36 days, not including weekends. Then July 30th was the end. It was over, or so I thought. My hair wasn’t back. My night sweats were a literal nightmare. I never had a good night sleep. I was in chemo induced Menopause, Waking every 1 to 2 hours was routine. I was dust. I wouldn’t wish this experience on my worst enemy.
Through the help God, family and my Drs., I finally have found a balance. Today I am grateful to be alive and grateful to be able to be a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and business owner in this wonderful community.
Monday I had my routine mammogram and it was clear and I am healthy!
The reality of Breast Cancer is 1 out of 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. It also effects men a smaller percentage.
Next time you are in a crowd, take a look around. It could be you. I, never in a million years, thought it would be me. Women get your routine yearly mammograms! Do monthly self-exams. Don’t just think you are okay. Make sure you are okay!
My last statements are of my life viewpoint after cancer. I never thought about dying, especially at a young age. This life, isn’t all there is. It isn’t forever. It isn’t eternity. We only have a few short years here, if we are lucky. Our time here is one purpose; to love one another and truly care for each other. My faith in Christ and the “Golden Rule” are my rock. There is an old saying “You can’t take a U-haul to heaven” is so true. A lot of our life is so busy and worried about our protecting our stuff we forget that.
Thank you for reading my story.
Breast Cancer Survivor's Luncheon
October 24, 2009 Siena Hotel Spa Casino