There is the HOPE in the Fight Against Breast Cancer
I live in IL. But I am from Northern CA. All my education was done in the L.A area. I attended USC for my undergraduate degree, CSULB for a MS in Sports Psychology. Then CSPP for a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Although I didn’t complete the doctorate program due to my relocation for my husband’s job, the institution awarded me a MA in Clinical Psychology for my schoolwork and therapy work with clients. (My husband and I relocated every two years due to his job in the medical field. I modeled both in LA and the cities we went to before and after my breast cancer.)
In 2004, I had a mammogram because my right breast looked slightly abnormal. I had no other symptoms. No pain or discharge. I was referred to see a surgeon. The surgeon suggested a lumpectomy procedure. After the lumpectomy, I was told that I would have a mastectomy because it was determined that I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS- precancer). No one in my family had any type of cancer. I never expected this!
The mastectomy surgery with immediate reconstruction surgery had its challenges. I had drains that needed to be tended too. I had a tissue expander placed into the mastectomy area to stretch the skin and muscle in preparation for the implant. After healing from the mastectomy, the expander process started. It required weekly saline injections for a month or longer. When this process was over, I had the final reconstruction surgery of an implant placed inside the pocket behind the muscle. I thought everything was going to be ok. It wasn’t.
The next year a mammogram revealed that I had invasive cancer in the left breast. Another mastectomy and reconstruction surgery were scheduled, and the process started again. For two years I rehabbed and went on with my stay-at-home mom life. In 2007, while visiting my mom for Christmas, I had to go to Emergency at a local hospital. MRI testing revealed Stage 4 Breast Cancer with metastasis to my Cerebellum (rear brain). This effects my ability to balance (walking, etc.) and intercranial pressure (which caused my Hydrocephalus).
After going through the Stage 4 breast cancer process, divorce, and fighting for custody of my young son all at the same time. I thought it was dire that diagnosed women, families, and friends need to know that an advance stage breast cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence. Hopefully, you will get something out of my story to help see your experience differently. Your disposition is everything!
My son was 4 when I was first diagnosed. I now am a mother to a 21-year-old man something I didn’t think I would get to experience. Being the mother of a young adult is challenging. I’m so used to being completely involved in my son’s daily life. From Mommie & me classes, Kindermusik classes, to Six Flagg’s outings, Hawaii trips and excursions, and several adventures. It so different now that my son is a bonified young adult, and I love that I still get to be his mom!
Have you ever been given news that made you feel as if you were a prisoner sentenced to death? That was my initial feeling when I was told I had Breast Cancer with metastasis to my brain, that my husband wanted a divorce, and that I needed to fight for custody of my son. Suddenly, my days seemed endless, and my nights were tiresome. To many, this would seem as if the days were numbered. But I held the strength to overcome this diagnosis and major life setbacks.
Money was low, I found myself states away, couch surfing while on SSI, and was unsure of my next steps. Through prayer, hope and the work of God, I was able to change my mindset and how I handled the situations placed before me. I learned these were just roadblocks in life’s path. Tough days are expected, and trials will come, but it is how you handle it that sets you apart from the rest.
The story that you are about to read is one of what helped me over-come this very rocky road: praying, strength, and survival. The experience left me broken, in despair and absent of hope. Become engrossed in the pages as I rediscover my purpose. My ability to hope again. Live again. Dream again.
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