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In June of 1994, I was on top of the world.  We just moved into our dream house in May.  I was so excited that I danced on our kitchen island.  The day after we returned from an incentive trip that I won at Verizon, I went into the hospital for a biopsy.  The news was bad. Stage 2 breast cancer, and a very aggressive cancer at that.  I was devastated. I thought I was too young to have cancer plus I had no family history of breast cancer. 


I had a lumpectomy and axillary node dissection.  Treatment consisted of 9 months of chemotherapy and radiation and 5 years of tamoxifen. Chemo was emotionally and physically grueling, but I got through it and returned to work 10 months later.   I worried that the cancer would come back but, as the years passed, I worried less and less. Over the years, I visited various oncologists for checkups, but because I was cancer free for 18 years they did not want to see me any more.  I was told that since the original cancer was so aggressive, if it had not returned by now the odds were that it would not return.  Well, they were wrong. 


By the fall of 2012, I was always tired and frequently took 3-hour naps.  I should have known that my cancer was back because fatigue had been my only symptom when I was first diagnosed. I visited my GYN and my primary care physician.  They both were so sure it was just my thyroid.  Finally, in March 2013, I was sent for a bone scan and that showed widespread bone metastases. A PET scan showed additional metastases in my soft tissue.


I was pretty upset by the news, but I think my strong faith in God and learned coping skills enabled me to get through it much better than I ever thought I could.  Not that I didn’t have some dark days; I did and still do.  I am so fortunate because I receive tremendous support from my husband, family and a few precious close friends.  I could not get through it without them.


Right now, I am responding to the treatment plan I am on.  I am not disease free but I am improving. I don’t look at myself as if I have a terminal illness.  That is not how I feel.   I feel pretty good most of the time and I am enjoying life every day. I am not done yet.  I feel strongly about making a significant contribution by advocating for research, which is so greatly needed. My goal is to be a fundraiser and political advocate.  There is so much to be done and I want to be a part of it for as long as I can.  When my time comes as it does to everyone, I am looking forward to an eternity in heaven.  


 


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