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.