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Caryn: We Do What We Do

Caryn, one of our new volunteers, is not trying to be a superwoman. She’s just living her life the best way she can, coping with her metastatic diagnosis and moving forward. In her own words….

I have been battling this disease for a long time. It has been so long that I seem to have lost track of time! My oncologist and I went back through my files, which by now you need real muscles to pick up, because I was rather curious to see exactly when I was first diagnosed. I was initially diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer almost 15 years ago, at the age of 38. I had a lump in my breast and had recently lost a lot of weight. A biopsy revealed that the lump was malignant. I had a lumpectomy, followed by chemo and radiation. I worked full-time during this journey, which turned out to be terrific for me. Every 6 months I went for my checkup.

At the beginning of my 5-year check-up, my surgeon and I hugged as we celebrated the end of my treatment. But during my exam, my doctor said my breast didn’t look right and 2 minutes later I had a needle biopsy scheduled. It came out positive. This time I had a mastectomy, followed by chemo again. Same regimen. As my history would predict, just past my next 5-year check up, I discovered that my cancer had metastasized to my liver and bones. I am currently in treatment and have settled into my “new normal”.

I have a positive outlook. I have been able to celebrate so many meaningful milestones in my life. I watched my two small children grow into mature and responsible adults and I enjoyed their personal achievements with them. I am looking forward to celebrating many more milestones with them. I have learned life is to be lived… and experienced…To help me keep moving forward with optimism, each night I go to bed thinking that tomorrow will be an even better day. My family and I have adopted a motto that helps us cope and feel positively about what we accomplish; we say that WE DO WHAT WE DO and that is good enough!