This post was written by one of the women we serve:

I was 19 years old and life couldn’t get any better. I was going into my junior year in college as a teaching major, had a wonderful boyfriend, and a new family who loved me. I was two weeks away from my 20th birthday, and I was so excited to be done with my teenage years. But a routine yearly exam with my doctor made my life come to a stand still… or so it felt.  On May 28, 2008, I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer.

From my doctor, I went to the hospital where an ultrasound was performed. The following day I was sent to a bigger hospital for a biopsy. (Living in more than small town USA you have to go away for anything other than ordinary medical care.) Six days later I was laying on an operating table in the middle of a lumpectomy. Over the course of the next 18 months I would have four more lumpectomies. May 28, 2008 changed me as a person and as a human– to me there is a very big difference. I thought, wait… this can’t be happening to me. I’m an athlete and a healthy, happy, young woman.

I remained numb for about 3 months. Through chemotherapy, and 2 more lumpectomies I refused to take on the role of cancer victim. I was so angry at life and at everyone around me because I was in a world all my own; a world no one around me could understand or wanted to understand. August came and I went back to college. I have remained in school through the entire 18 months of my battle. I am now 21 years old.

This past summer, two days before I turned 21, I found out the cancer had metastasized to my ovaries- a very rare location for this cancer to spread to. Since then, I have gone through six months of targeted therapy with strict diets and exercise routines. I was told on November 19, 2009 that my cancer had gone into remission. I went last week for my first PET scan, and the cancer was back with a vengeance. I already have two new tumors. I skipped the depressed state and went straight to angry. This quickly turned to constructive anger and I became proactive in getting treatment.

I am scheduled for a complete hysterectomy on Friday, February 12th. I am very scared. The mastectomy has to wait until school is out. I am currently in my student teaching and am set to graduate in May 2010. The hysterectomy will leave some sense of peace in me I hope. I am determined to be back into remission by graduation.

There are so many  people who have made this journey possible. They added humor and joy to each day. They carried me when I thought tomorrow would never come. I lost many people through my diagnosis, but found others who truly are the best of friends. Don’t ever give up because when you see only one set of footprints, because it means you’re being carried when you no longer have the strength.

Can you identify with this story? How did your diagnosis change your life? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

14 thoughts on “Footprints

  1. Thanks for sharing this inspirational post. I really love the footprints verse and I hadn’t thought of it in some time, so thank you for reminding me how beautiful it is.

  2. You are welcome. My mom said it to me the day I found out recently that I had two new tumors only a few weeks ago. It lifted me up from my tears and brought me into a new perspective of being proactive about the news. I realized that I wasn’t going to go through this alone, that I was going to be carried through it. I am still being carried this week as the surgery quickle approaches. I can feel the nerves and fear inside of me, yet I can see the calm and tranquility all around me throughout my days. In my own ways, I feel blessed.

  3. You are an amazing young woman with a very strong support system and will to live. I also have a strong support system so I can certainly relate except I am years older than you. I was originally diagnosed with DCIS (cancer within the duct only), which was non-invasive and had three lumpectomies and one stereotactic biopsy to confirm and only needed radiation; too long a story to get into, however, I went two months shy of being cancer-free for six years and developed INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER (IBC). I am telling you this and hope anyone that enters this site also reads this because (IBC) is the rarest and most aggressive breast cancer today. A MAMMOGRAM IN MANY CASES WILL NOT DETECT IT AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A LUMP. Even if you get this early, its always at Stage IIIb or IIIc. I don’t mean to frighten anyone, but knowledge is power; really is and we need all the knowledge we can get in order to survive. IF ANYONE GETS A CHANCE, PLEASE CHECK THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR INFLAMMATORY BREAST CANCER: It will tell you all about it, the symptoms; everything you want to know. Take care and God Bless you all…

  4. Thanks for your story. You are not alone. Two year survivor. Keep the HOPE ALIVE and remember alot of people are praying and yes you are being carry thru this phase of your life. KEEP THE FAITH AND THE WILL AND YOU WILL GO ALONG WAY. Yes just like you the worse part of the disease are friends you thought would be there for you are no longer around. That hurt me worse than the disease. Love from a Sister who fighting the fight.

  5. FOOTPRINTS expresses my testimony also — and a framed copy is hanging in my guest bedroom to share my experience.
    I was diagnoised with Stage 1 in 1992 -lumpectomy, radiation and told that it would not likely come back. In 1998 I was given a Stage IV diagnoises with mets to the bone. Sometimes the footprints were those of a friend or friends (their prayers have made such a difference} and sometimes the footprints of the Lord himself as He lead and directs me. The Will to live is a powerful force –
    I am now in remission —

  6. Kathy: You are on a journey that no one diagnosised with Breast Cancer choose to take. I love the 23rd Psalm that says as we go through the valley – so remember that you are going through and will not remain in that valley. By continuing your education shows that you are a young lady that will not give up. I have a copy of Footprints with a photo of myself to remind me that during trials and suffering I was being carried – you are his precious child and will not be left alone. Your life have a purpose and you will come through this and will be a shining star in the class room that will light a beautiful path for every child to see. I love you and I will call your name in prayer.

  7. I know what you are thinking. But have the faith in the one that can give it. We can all cope with things. Things don’t make us. We really are stronger than we think we are. If we are sad, depressed and isolate ourselves then Satan the Devil wins. But if we do the opposite (laugh, dance, rejoice,) and be happy for the measure of life we have we can prove the Devil a liar.

  8. All of you are amazing and your stories -inspirational. I am surrounding myself with love and hope from others. Now that I am in the recovery process and doing very very well I have a new hope for each day that was diminishing before. I am being carried through each day of my life. Even though I have had to stop college at this point for the remainder of the semester I still volunteer in the classroom often as my students make any day the best day ever. Faith, hope, and love carry you through everything.

  9. Sweetheart, I just read your story and it made me cry. You are my daughter’s age. Cancer does not spare anyone.
    I hope that your surgery went well and that you have good news. I have gone through cancer and all the treatments you mention. But I was 45 years old!
    I wish you all the best in the world. You are very brave. Good luck.

  10. I was a student teacher before all the recent medical happenings and I was actually able to go back and visit my classroom for the first time today. It was wonderful. The smallest things bring back hope, faith, and vibrancy to life.

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