March 10, 2016 will mark two years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the moment I got the call from my doctor, she said those “life changing” words, it’s cancer. In that moment, it was like a kick in the stomach, everything went dark and it just didn’t seem real. So many emotions and thoughts go through your mind at once, how do you even begin to process this? Reading the actual medical report made it sound and feel even more unbearable and unbelievable…..40 year old female – left ductal carcinoma. And at that time, I was a new mother with a one year old baby girl. A happy and excited new mom now with breast cancer. It was hard to really wrap my mind around this. I was active, had healthy eating habits, exercised regularly, what went wrong I wondered? But, I discovered that it didn’t matter and I may never know the answer, and frankly don’t think I wanted to know. But, I knew I had to face this head on and fight with all my might because I had a beautiful baby girl that needed her mother.
So, as I began to pull myself together, taking a deep breath, I remembered that sign on the wall of the breast cancer care center. The sign read “life is subject to change without notice….and you will get through it”. And it’s true because I did and I’m continuing to get through it. After the initial shock of it all, I knew a couple of things to be certain, I was now a part of “the statistics” I would always hear about in the media and I was going to do everything in my power to live. Even with all the awful and negative things that cancer can bring to your life, it has brought out a better version of my old self. Through out this journey, I said that for every negative I would counteract with a positive….it was helpful and its so important to have a positive attitude, I do believe it is a major part to the overall healing process. I call it the “BUT” response.
Chemo was awful and I dreaded it, it made me tired, nauseous and gave me horrible ‘metal mouth’, BUT it killed my tumor!
I lost my hair by the second round of chemo, BUT my baldness provided me with a sense of freedom and confidence!
I lost my natural breast from a double mastectomy, BUT it reduced the risk of reoccurrence!
I have scars from the mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, BUT I have new breast!
Those are just some of my BUTs- there are many more. I am just so very grateful to have gone through this and have the love and support from family and friends to get through it. Sometimes we find our biggest blessings from the the most tragic and difficult things in life, and it’s by the grace of God if we are able to embrace it.
Going through cancer has been a life-altering experience to say the least but it brought me to this wonderful organization that has become a special part of my life. I wanted to give back by volunteering or some how help someone in need but I realized how much Loving Arms helped me in the process. The staff is welcoming, kind, and they make you feel like family. The support groups are positive and help you connect with other fascinating and caring people. Seeing what they do in the community and how they help those dealing with cancer is extremely valuable.
This will be a life long journey, the cancer may be gone but the mental, emotional and physical aspects will always remain. But, with the right perspective, support and attitude, it will enhance this life-long journey in ways you never expected. Funny thing about life, the only thing constant is change. But, it’s all in how we respond to those changes.