Please share your story:
Early last year my husband was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. As a family we were devastated. We have two small children & a lot going on in our busy lives already, taking on cancer treatment was going to be a hefty task & we clearly worried about the impact it may have on our children. Thankfully he handled treatment well with minimal side effects & we were able to get through without ever saying the dreaded “C” word to our kids who were two & four at the time. He was in remission as of August of 2015 & we grew stronger from the process. I believe now, that it was God’s way of preparing us for my cancer.
I noticed a lump in my left breast in November of 2015. But after all that my family had just been through, I wanted them to get through the holidays stress free so I opted not to call my physician until January. A decision I later worried may cost me my life. In February I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My surgeon estimated the tumor had been growing for approximately two years & treatment needed to start ASAP.
I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction (tram flap) in March. I did 8 rounds of chemotherapy, starting in April & completed that in August. Following chemo, I completed 33 rounds of radiation. I’ll be on hormone therapy for ten years going forward & have one surgery remaining to complete reconstruction which I am safely waiting until next year to tackle.
Meanwhile, while I was going through chemo my husband became concerned that his lymphoma may be returning. Seriously, right?? Following some tests, his doctors confirmed that he had relapsed or possibly the cancer was never fully gone in the first place as we had thought. He began treatment again this month (Oct) & will continue treatment for the next three years.
It’s been a crazy long road & certainly a lot more than we had ever anticipated when it all began last year. Cancer has given us a plethora of challenges, but it’s made us stronger & we appreciate life & one another now more than ever. Most would consider us unlucky to both have gotten cancer, we would say that we’re blessed to have one another for support as we face these battles together.
How has your story shaped who you are today?:
It's changed my life completely! I don't spend time now worrying about the future or things I can't change, it's wasted energy. Instead I focus on today & making it the best it can be. My focus is on positivity & the things that I can work to change for the better.
What compelled you to share your story on our blog?:
Through it all my focus has been to remain positive. I was encouraged by my friends, family & even my physicians to share my story, so I started a website, positivelysurvivingcancer.com. It's been amazing so far & I've had so many people reach out to me personally through the blog & Instagram. It's just so wonderful to take something so terrible & make something positive out of it. Stress is an ugly thing that can really slow down our body’s healing process, so it important to train ourselves to focus on positivity. I also really believe that if we look our best, we feel our best. Feeling our best is so important through cancer treatment because it allows our bodies to fight that much harder! I would love to help continue to spread the word about my site & help more fellow cancer warriors out there as they make their way through this journey.
What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:
Take it all one day at a time, one question at a time. Be strong & positive, don't let worries or negative thoughts take your strength!