Stage II A multifocal, multi-centric left breast CA ER/PR+/HER2-Procedure: 2 Lumpectomies, 4 rounds of chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomy and tissue expander to silicone implant reconstruction.
My sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, so I was being closely monitored by my medical team. Despite this, my cancer went undetected until I found it on April 20th, 2015. At no point did I ever say, “Why me?” It was more, “Why not me?” Millions of women worldwide deal with hearing those words: “It’s cancer,” and I was determined to face this new challenge in my life head-on. I have taken this opportunity to educate myself and others about navigating this horror that is called cancer (or as I so lovingly call it, my “shit storm”). I have chosen to deal with it with humor, exercise, knowledge, and a “tribe” of supporting individuals, including family, friends, and an amazing medical team.
As a Physical Therapy Assistant, I am furthering my education to provide oncology rehab to patients like myself undergoing cancer treatment. I found that carefully monitored exercise during chemo and other treatments for cancer helped me minimize the side effects of medications and provide a better quality of life. I am passionate about helping others through their “shit storm” and look forward to being part of my patients’ “tribe.”
My medical team at both MCMH, The Mary Dow Center, and Bangor Plastic and Hand Surgery have been outstanding. We are very fortunate to have this level of care in a more rural setting. To all those at MCMH, Bangor Plastic and Hand Surgery, and my “tribe,” I cannot thank you enough.
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails” – Elizabeth Williams
To women and men going through this, I would offer these words of advice: adjust your sails, navigate a course with your team and sail through it. And look yourself in the mirror every day and repeat “I am the strongest person I know!” We ALL have the warrior within us, and when faced with a challenge, we fight.
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.