I had my first mammogram at age 32. It would be my last. The mastectomy took care of that.
Young. Not overweight. Breastfed two babies. I was low risk in every sense. It was the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. I was aware and did what I was supposed to do. None of the medical professionals expected that little lump to actually be cancer. However, 2 days after the biopsy the doctor confirmed I had joined the club no one wants to join. Breast cancer awareness month felt like a celebration and I was in no mood to celebrate. Or see all the pink. Just over a year later, I am beginning to again appreciate breast cancer awareness month. And pink.
Throughout my journey with breast cancer, I learned a lot I never imagined I would learn – or at least, not this early in my life when I was trying to focus on raising two young children, maintaining a happy and healthy marriage, and staying busy with a fulfilling career in child welfare. I underwent a double mastectomy followed by radiation and long term anti-hormone medication. As a side effect, I am able to commiserate with my mom about hot flashes.
No one prepared me for the possibility of needing physical therapy, but my plastic surgeon graciously referred me to TurningPoint following my initial surgery. One of the most healing aspects of this journey was the treatment and support I received there – both physically and emotionally, http://www.papsociety.org/ambien-zolpidem-10-mg/. The care, compassion, patience, guidance, and knowledge they provided were such that only someone personally familiar with breast cancer could. And the silver lining? Best massages ever.
I am somewhat uncomfortable when people tell me I am strong or an inspiration, since I merely showed up for the doctors to care for me. I cried plenty of times. I get anxious about a recurrence. But I know such thoughts are normal. I will move on and put this behind me, because I have hope for the future. I have hope that I will continue to raise my amazing children alongside my incredibly supportive, humorous, loving husband. I have hope for my professional future. And I have many people to thank for that – medical professionals, family, and friends.
A year ago, cancer was an ugly word. I now see it as a blessing. It brought me closer to my husband. It encouraged me to truly relish in the delight and wonder that are my incredible children. It introduced me to many amazing women. It reinforced that I am surrounded by more love and support than I ever could have imagined. It also reminded me to be sensitive to others, as everyone has a battle they are fighting – whether you know it or not.