My name is Natalie Gamble, I am 43 years old and in May of 2014 one phone call changed my life forever. ” Your biopsy came back positive, Natalie I’m so sorry but you have cancer.” Cancer? My first reaction of course was tears. I cried in my husband’s arms afraid of the unknown because while an enlarged lymph node was positive for cancer my mammogram and ultrasound had shown nothing but benign cysts. My first thoughts after my crying jag were: “The Devil is a Lie!” Cue my second reaction, I got mad, I mean fighting mad and decided right then and there no matter what I was faced with I was going to fight and I was going to win. The next few days were a blur of appointments, procedures and tests I never even knew existed. After it was all said and done I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Stage II.
Three days after that initial phone call my husband and I sat in a general surgeon’s office hoping she was going to explain to me what all of those words meant and most importantly what do we do to beat this? She showed me a highlighted area on my MRI and points out a 2 inch by 10 inch patch of tiny tumors in my left breast. I went from mad to down right pissed off! Not only was this nasty little beast trying to kill me it tried to hide out while doing it! After that I went into what I call my Tony Soprano stance. “I want it dead, I want every cell, every molecule dead.” After so much information I thought my head would burst it was decided I would undergo a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction.
Later on the evening of the same day my husband and I told our four children and grandson what was going on and what treatment had been decided at that point. We answered their questions and listened to their concerns. My resolve to fight was even stronger looking at my family that night, my three sons and my daughter had nothing but words of encouragement and support. Slowly but surely we contacted more of our extended family and let them know of my diagnosis reactions went from cries of disbelief and tears to complete avoidance. One of my sisters threatened “If you die I will kill you!” I laughed until I cried because it was what I needed, for people to treat me as they always did, I wasn’t broken or fragile I just had cancer.
I look back on the last eight months and it amazes me what I have been through and how much I have endured with the support of my wonderful family and friends and my faith in God. Not once did it cross my mind to ask why me? Or even to feel sorry for myself. Who am I to think this couldn’t happen to me because guess what? It did happen and it can happen to anyone. God put me on this journey and only he knows how my path ends, until then I will reach out to as many fellow fighters as I can. Maybe I’m that kind word she needs that day or that hand she needs to hold for just a moment, anything I can do to remind them all we are not our diagnosis.
Natalie L. Gamble is a 43-year-old happily married mother of four and grandmother of one from Denver, Colorado. Newly diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in May 2014 she spends most of her time writing short stories and poetry, or enjoying her role as a stay-at-home mother and grandmother.