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Colleen’s Story (Breast Cancer)

Colleen's Breast Cancer Story2012 was to be my year and my family’s year. I graduated the police academy and was in line for a deputy position in the county we live in. My husband and kids had sacrificed so much for me last year so that I could follow my dream to work in law enforcement.

February rolled around and it was time for my annual pap smear and mammogram. I was a little hesitant since I just had a major physical for the Sheriffs Office , but I did it anyway. My doctor is 2 days older than dirt , but I LOVE him to death! He decided I should have an ultrasound of my breast. I asked ‘Why?’  to which he replied ‘because I said so and you have old boobs!’ Which was a dig at me since I was turning 46 in a few weeks. So because he’s the boss, I did it. Bam! Something funky showed up. My doctor decides its a good idea to do an MRI, so I do. Bam! More funky shows up! Now a biopsy/mri , Happy Valentine’s Day to me! But I go along with it because nothing is EVER wrong with me . I DON’T GET SICK! I am the strongest woman I know. I spent the last 9 months as the Captain in a male dominated police academy. I’m waiting for the ‘call’ saying I got my dream job.

Friday, March 2nd, I get ‘the call’ from the Sheriff himself congratulating me on being the ‘newest member of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Gonzalez. Happy Birthday!’ Monday, the 5th, is my actual birthday but this was the greatest early birthday present. My family was crazy excited!!

Until Monday, the 5th, when I got ‘the call’ that changes a person’s life. My biopsy came back , ‘you have breast cancer’. I couldn’t speak… one tear rolled down my face. All I said was ‘you’re wrong’. The doctor made the appointment with the surgeon and I agreed, but insisted they needed to figure out how to fit this cancer into my life, because I just got my dream job and have no time for this crap! At my appointment with the surgeon, I got a real quick lesson in DCIS breast cancer, and decided to move forward with the bilateral mastectomy.

I wasn’t happy with any of it, but I will be alive. I would see my kids grow up and grow old with my husband. I had to stop trying to dictate to my cancer how things were going to go. HA! My cancer has its own schedule, and could care less what I wanted to do. I felt so guilty having to put my family through this after all they had to sacrifice for me last year.

I thought for sure I would lose my ‘dream job’, but this Sheriff’s wife was a 15 year survivor. He told me to take however much time I needed to get well, that they will hold my spot! He also told me my new ‘extended family was behind me all the way’. My husband and kids have been a huge inspiration to me and  I could never have gotten over this so quickly without them.

Today , I am 15 days post op, 100% cancer free, and starting reconstruction and physical therapy. I will start my new job, my dream job,  May 7th!!

Criminals beware!I beat cancer and you may be next!

Colleen G.
Submitted 04-16-2012

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Colleen


    WOW!! What a difference a year can make!. Thought I should update you all. I did take on the new job, 6 weeks after bi-lateral mastectomy , I failed the training miserably and added that guilt to my plate. Looking back, I would NOT recommend taking on a stressful, basic training police training type program 6 weeks post -surgery. I “lost” my left expander, lol it went “rogue” , stopped expanding, and I needed another surgery to replace it. I was determined NOT to let anyone know so I opted to wait until training was done . I was in physical and now emotional pain daily, but in a very male driven career I wasn’t gonna let them see me sweat!
    I would pass this important bit of information on, I really didn’t get this until well into the healing process. Once the physical pain from surgery/reconstruction is over , the emotional stuff shows up. I recommend get a breast cancer buddy, someone positive that can help “hear ” you. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to face. Even with great support from my husband and my family only another breast cancer survivor “gets ” you and your emotional roller coaster. Support each other and find a positive focus.
    I say I had the best cancer I had the one that came with options and I’m still here!
    I may have “failed” that training program, but I took an office job, and the rest of the year to complete my reconstruction, and get healthy. On Feb. 4th 2013 ,I became a Police Officer for the City of Key Colony Beach. I couldn’t be happier , this is the place I was to be .
    SO be strong, be patient with yourself and FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!

    • rosanne b walsh

      You are my hero Colleen- I love you so much! By sharing your story you give a gift of encouragement to the world, and I know there are many more gifts to come! Rock on girl- and look out KCB!!!!!!

  2. Laura

    So happy and proud to have been a part of your amazing journey. Aint nothing gonna hold you down.

  3. Chuck Rothberg

    I wish I were more eloquent to express how proud I am of my Daughter. I frankly don’t know if I could’ve gone through what she’s gone through, and then embark on a totally new career. She retains a positive, gung ho attitude and most of all, her sense of humor. She is my hero! Love you Baby Girl

  4. lisa

    I was diagnosed with dcis in April 2013. I have had 2 surgeries and now I have to have radiation treatment. I am also In the army national guard ( 13 years) . I am feeling a little scared of the radiation though. I am a fighter and I will make it.

    • Darlene Watts

      Hi Lisa i had 18 radiation treatments, no problem at all, my breast would be a little red, so keep lotion on, Good luck, God Bless!

  5. connie

    Way to go Colleen !! keep your head up I was diagnosed with breast cancer april 2011 . but I was not going to let it controll my life . I fought like crazy and kicked its butt .. your are a survivor and will continue to be . hang in there

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