Unfortunately, cancer is no stranger to my family and friends. With my mother, nana, both grandfathers, several friends, and just recently my father being diagnosed, cancer is a word I have heard way too often.
It was Friday, April 13th, 2001 (Good Friday) when I heard the words, “You have cancer.” The morning I woke up to scratch an itch on the side of my left breast was the beginning of a life changing event (which I call a blessing in disguise). I was 26 years old and had just moved back home from living in Florida for two years. I had the time of my life there, but I was happy to be back home in Mass with my family.
After a lumpectomy & sentinel node biopsy, it was determined that I had stage II breast cancer. Chemotherapy wasn’t quite as bad as I had expected, I thought it would be a lot worse. I would be laid up on the couch for a week straight after each treatment, barely able to move with no energy. Yes, it sucked, but I kept a positive attitude which I believe is a huge reason I got through it all. I had my good days and bad days, but the good always outweighed the bad. I shaved my head about two and a half weeks after my first treatment. I wanted to conquer the side effect before it conquered me. I was okay with it because I knew that eventually it would grow back and I kept thinking of all the pros of not having any hair. Hey, it took me less time to get ready for work…that was a plus.
My last treatment was on September 11, 2001. What a day of mixed emotions that was.
Then it was on to radiation treatments, which were a breeze compared to the chemotherapy. The only pain was I had to travel 40 minutes, everyday, five days a week for seven weeks. Forty minutes of travel for a 90 second treatment. It got a little tiring, but I was done before I knew it.
I couldn’t have gotten through it without all of my loving & very supportive family & friends! Each and every one of them played a huge role in my recovery whether they know it or not. My mom being a nurse helped quite a bit as well. 🙂 A year after my diagnosis, I decided to go back to school for Massage Therapy. I wanted to do something where I could help others feel better & it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Now, sometimes I can get a little down and tend to worry about the small things, but when I do, I look at a picture I have on my bureau of my nurse giving me my chemo treatment and I think to myself, “Today is better than that day and I can get through this.”
Twelve years later and I am still cancer free. God has blessed me with a gorgeous little boy who is now six and I enjoy every moment I spend with him. He is my whole world. I also volunteer some of my time to the American Cancer Society as the regional coordinator for the ‘Look Good Feel Better’ program in my area. It’s a program for women who are going through cancer treatments. ACS volunteers come in and show the ladies how to apply make-up, take care of their skin, show them how to care for their wigs, and show them beautiful & imaginative ways on how to tie scarfs or decorate hats to cover your head. It’s a wonderful program which I encourage all women to attend. I love meeting other survivors and sharing my story, while encouraging them to stay strong. God has given me a second chance and I am so very blessed!!
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.