10-year survivor — life-long conqueror

This entry was written by Charron Walker who just celebrated her 10th year cancer free:

young survivors network, living beyond breast cancer, young women affected by breast cancer

Charron Walker celebrates 10 years of being cancer free

I live by this quote: “I have been through a lot to do this; everyday is a faith walk for me. God spared me for a reason and this is my purpose!”

I found a lump in my right breast while I was in the shower doing a monthly self-breast exam. I was thirty-two years old.  My mother passed away from breast cancer at the age of thirty-four, so I knew that me or my older sister would inherit the gene for the big “C.” I never thought I would get it because I was so young.

I had big plans for myself after graduation. In a matter of days, everything changed. I was going to find a well-paid job in Human Resources, pay off my student loan and begin to move into the next stage of my life. I wanted to get married, have children, get a dog and have a big house with the white picket fence.

 I was diagnosed with Stage I Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. I was frightened beyond words. I never had a major operation before so all of this was new to me. This was my first day of being cancer free. The next step in my personal journey was to start chemotherapy. I was petrified. I heard horror stories about the treatments and could not fathom being physically sick, losing my hair or putting something that toxic in my body.  My head was swimming with all kinds of thoughts: Am I going to get through this? How sick am I going to get? What will I look like with no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes? Is this all worth it? God, are you still here? I was battling mentally, physically and emotionally to survive.

I lost my hair the day before Christmas Eve. It was a bad holiday for me but I was alive. The treatment, in itself, was a difficult hurdle to overcome. Each medication I took had bad side effects. I had insomnia, depression and nightmares. I worked Monday through Thursday and took the Friday off to have chemo. I did not have to but I chose to work through all my treatments. It brought a sense of normalcy to my life. It was my therapy.  

The final step in my journey was hormone therapy. I had to take one pill everyday for five years. With this medication, I was pushed into early menopause which included hot flashes, mood swings, etc. In 2006, I started Young Survivors Network, a program for young women survivors of breast cancer.  Our mission is to educate, support and advocate for young women who have been diagnosed with this disease.

I’m not “just” a survivor, I’m a conqueror! I am in my 10th year of survivorship and I am taking it one day at a time. I don’t have a fear of dying but every now and then I am confronted with the thought that cancer might return. I am sometimes afraid it could come back in my other breast or another part of my body. When these overwhelming fears rage, I immediately say “God promised I was healed.” These powerful words bring peace, comfort and hope to me. The fears are quieted and put to rest.  I am determined to live life to the fullest!

white house black market, butterfly ball

Charron attended LBBC’s annual gala this year, joining 24 other remarkable women who participated in the White House | Black Market campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We want to hear about your milestones and how you’ve journeyed through your breast cancer diagnosis like Charron! Comment here or on our Facebook page!

4 thoughts on “10-year survivor — life-long conqueror

  1. I admire Charron’s courage and faith, her upbeat attitude.

    As a woman managing Metastatic Breast Cancer (Stage 4, incurable), I need to hear stories of women who are living many years with this disease. Women with metastatic breast cancer can’t be cured. We will have to manage this disease for the rest of our lives. It gives me and other fellow ‘metsters’ so much hope to hear of women who have lived many years with this disease. If anyone has a story to tell of living a long life with this disease, it would mean so much to hear your stories. I was just diagnosed in 2009 and although my prognosis is good — I’ve responded well to the hormone therapy — I often wonder how many years can I hope for. Please write stories about women who have lived many years with this disease. God bless,

  2. Hi Renee, I’ve reached out to Ded Strauss. She is willing to blog about her experience with metastatic breast cancer. She has been living with the disease for 18 years and is honored to be able to share her story with you and other women who are seeking to find hope in similar situations. She asked that I have you contact her for one-on-one support. Please send me an email (stacia@lbbc.org) and I will forward you her contact information. Thank you and take care.

  3. Hi Renee
    I like you have been diagnosed as StageIV metastatic (mets to lungs)since July 2009. My oncologist put me on chemo I was taking Abraxane, and Avastin along with oral chemo Xeloda. As my tumor markers began to drop and my tumors shrunk and I’ve had no new tumors I am just taking the Xeloda and Arimdex daily. Since this has happened I have hardly missed a day of work; I try to eat right, excercise and laugh. We know what we are dealing with and yes it can be managed, will it always be easy; probably not, but it is managable. My oncologist told us on my first visit that we should look at this like a chronic illness that will always have to be managed. There are so many more options out there now for us than there were just a few years ago; and we can only hope that more are on the horizon. For metsters like us it is all about the attitude. We must beleive that we can continue to thrive while living with mets. Be well and if you want to saty in contact LBBC can give you my email address or phone number. Sending you love, hope and strength. Lisa

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