Lynn: "I'm a positive person at heart"
It was the morning of 9/11. The Twin Towers were on fire and I was in my doctor’s office having just been diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. There I was, watching the disaster unfold on TV while having to accept breast cancer. I had just turned 45 and the world was falling apart.
Due to complications in finding the tumor in my breast, what was supposed to be a lumpectomy quickly turned into a bilateral mastectomy. After a few years of hormonal therapy on tamoxifen and a change of diet to organic and healthier eating, my doctor announced that I was “cured” and one of his “healthiest” patients.
I never expected to be a patient again. I was diagnosed early; I did all the right things to stay healthy. Seven years after my first diagnosis, after a bout of gastric discomfort and with an unusual blood report from my gastro doctor, I returned to my oncologist to help diagnose the problem. He ordered a complete series of PET & CAT scans and MRIs. Then while my husband, Tom, and I were working at our office the phone rang. Tom answered and it was my oncologist saying that we needed to meet him in his office today. He said that this is not the phone call you want to get, but we needed to talk. That afternoon in his office, I got the news that the cancer had spread to my bones and bone marrow. I had Stage 4 breast cancer and I just couldn’t believe it!
I was scared at first, wondering how long I would live. Everyone I knew with late stage breast cancer was dead. But after finding a wonderful therapist, I began to understand that I could live with this disease. I am a positive person at heart, so eventually after the shock wore off, the positive-ness in my heart started to shine again.
There have been scares in the 2 ½ years since my Stage 4 diagnosis: Changes in drugs, lots of scans, an intestinal blockage and some surgeries. But I am optimistic that I can live a long life. My friends have been amazingly supportive. They sewed a ‘healing’ quilt that I take to all my treatments. My husband is a godsend who comes to all my appointments no matter how inconsequential. He is my “cancerierge” (a play on the word concierge from the TV show “The Big C”). I couldn’t be so well balanced without the help of friends and family.
I also have changed my life to include more of the things I love to do. I work less; I knit and sew more; I do yoga and cook often. I have started a beautiful organic garden. Basically I am trying to reduce the stress in my life hoping that will help keep the cancer cells at bay. I believe positive thinking can help me thrive!
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