I was 39 years old, a wife, a mother and a teacher when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2014.
My first experience with cancer
In April 2013 I felt something in my breast, but as it is with busy women, it passed and I forgot about it. A year later, the lump was still there, a bit bigger and I could only feel it when lifting my arm above my head. I went to my GP and he sent me for a mammogram.
As I walked into the mammogram room I felt so calm. I had a sense of relief, knowing I would finally have a solid diagnosis. When the radiologist told me that I needed an urgent biopsy that sense of calm disappeared. I knew that what I’d been suspecting for months was about to be revealed.
I had a biopsy. The results revealed that I had HER2-positive breast cancer. Even though I’d been preparing myself for the worst, I was entirely in shock when I heard the diagnosis. My heart raced, and the tears streamed down my face. My husband held me close to him as tears streamed down his face, too.
I received six months of chemotherapy. After a rocky and emotional six months of nausea, I was completely drained and had very low white blood cell count. Some days I felt good and I wanted to go out and conquer the world, but other days I could not get up in the mornings. After the chemotherapy I had a lumpectomy, and seven weeks of radiation. After these were completed, I began a three-month treatment of Herceptin.
Faith, Faith and Faith, hope and love
I was raised to know that love is totally unconditional. This is how I feel about my journey with cancer. My husband stood by my side and walked with me every step of the way. At first, it was hard to admit I needed help and to be so vulnerable. Once I let go, our relationship deepened in ways I could have never imagined. When I lost my hair and part of my breast, I felt so unattractive, but he showed me unconditional love and made me feel beautiful. My six year old daughter told me that I look very brave without hair. The greatest experience was seeing how much love and kindness my family and friends shared with me during this difficult time.
My life after cancer
Going through cancer has changed me forever. I now choose to have hope, have faith and seek support. I will continue to build my relationship with God, and also with my loved ones. Cancer gave me a better perspective on what matters and what doesn’t. It renewed my appreciation for the people in my life.
To all other women with breast cancer going through treatment
- Make each day count.
- Embrace your journey.
- Do the things you love.
- Give thanks for every day you wake up.
- Say to yourself: I am loved, I am strong, I am happy, and I am a survivor.
My plea to all other women
Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, of any education level and economic status. Be aware of the signs your body shouts at you. Go for regular mammograms. Early detection is vital.
Today with the scars of the lumpectomy and the faded burning scars of the radiation, I am using the same scars to uplift others. Cancer trained my mind to focus on what is important, and to love with all my heart. I would never think that one day I will be grateful for this journey and my experience. I know God still has a plan and purpose for my life, as He so many times indicated to me through my journey by way of Jeremiah 29:11.