January 2016 got here quite calmly – until January 26th – the day of my breast cancer diagnosis. Why me? I did things the “right” way.   I breast fed my five children, I sort of eat okay and I sort of exercise. My husband and I were settling in to our fifth year of marriage and combining our family of eight children. On top of that, I was eight months in to my favorite job with the Jekyll Island Authority. I am way too busy for this.

I spent about a minute contemplating “Why me”? I have a family to take care of – my number one priority! I reluctantly changed my thoughts to “Why not me?” God’s plan is not my plan and this was another moment in my life where I prayed my breath prayer…..”This too shall pass, God how do you want to use me on this journey?” I pray that a lot!

With the all-important support of my faithful husband, our four parents, our children, my brother and sister and the rest of our extended family and friends, I underwent a double mastectomy and removal of the right sentinel node on February 12th. With the help of my gynecologist who delivered my five children, I met an amazing cancer surgeon and plastic surgeon who scheduled me quickly and that was a blessing.

An integral part of my journey has been the team at TurningPoint – they truly were my turning point. I heard about TurningPoint from both of my wonderful surgeons and their assistants. The day I left my first physical therapy appointment, I cried in the Roswell Road parking lot and thanked God for placing the TurningPoint team in my life. I knew I had found the answer to prayers. I left my first appointment with Lauren and for the first time since January 26th – I felt like I would be normal again – a new normal, but normal. Beyond feeling normal, they helped me to feel so much better physically and emotionally. Lauren and Anita were so patient with the myriad of questions and incredibly reassuring.

As women, mothers and full time employees – we take care of others first. The most important thing to do during this time in your life is to take care of yourself first. I didn’t do it – none of us do – but make the time for TurningPoint and encourage others that you meet in our fight to do the same. Let others cook your meals. I didn’t cook for two months. For my family, this was the best part of having Mom down for a while. The prayers will be felt and you will meet people you never knew existed that will enhance your soul.

I have been so blessed by the angels that have crossed my path. Would I take back everything that I have been through? Absolutely, because I am not a fighter.  However, I have learned that I can fight this because I want to be here for my husband and my children. I want to love on my grandchildren and be with our parents for years to come. I can’t wait to go to my first TurningPoint Pink Affair on March 11, 2017. That night, I will celebrate with other cancer survivors and embrace that I am just over one year cancer free. To all of the newbies out there, be strong, be brave and lean on those us who have “been there, done that”. Know that each journey is individual and frightening, but remember, “THIS TOO, SHALL PASS!”

Thank you TurningPoint Team for being part of my team and continue to do your wonderful work inspiring your patients to be survivors.