When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, I thought, “How am I going to get through this?” My husband and I managed a Christian camp for youth and I had responsibilities to take care of during the summer months. I knew a little of what I would be going through because my mother had a single mastectomy in her 60s and my grandmother in her 70s. Over the years, I knew it was just a matter of time for me, but a person is never ready to hear the news of cancer.
The diagnosis came back as
non-invasive cancer—ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of the right breast. It was
an early, localized cluster of cancer cells that start in the milk passages
(ducts). The suspicious lump was spotted during my yearly mammogram. A week or
so later I had a biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis.
|Mom's Senior Picture|
At the age of 54, I thought I was too young to have this curse. However, God held me by the hands and prepared me for this phase of my life. I will be forever grateful to Him for taking me through this journey of cancer. Surgery was scheduled for March 17 for a right breast lumpectomy. My husband and both daughters were my inspiration during those days. Following surgery, I developed staph infection and could not start my radiation treatments until the infection was controlled. My oncologist was a wonderful motivator, always encouraging me through the 28 days of tiredness and blisters. I started taking Tomoxifin right after surgery. Tomoxifin, taken for 5 years, reduces the risk of developing breast cancer for those that are at a high risk of the disease. I experienced several unmanageable side-effects, so within 3 years I was taken off this medication.
|My Mom and Dad enjoying the start of the Fall colors.|
Today, I am cancer free again. My husband and daughters have been a big help—my encouragers and my cheerleaders to grasp the concept that life is not done. I have a job to do and work is therapeutic, so I focused on what I could do, rather than be under its control. The verse in Jeremiah 30:17 has been a great comfort to me: “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds.” God is faithful to His Word and to me!