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Norma  Cook Profile

Norma Cook

Survivor since 2014

Current City
Jacksonville, New Brunswick
Your Story

April 2014

For the past year or so, I have sensed that God was preparing me for something important. Sermons, songs, scriptures and stories all seemed to have the same theme--"Pay attention and get ready because something is coming that will change your life". In February 2014, a routine mammogram detected a tiny lump in my right breast. If I had followed the Canadian standards for breast screening as explained by my family doctor, I wouldn't have had this test for another year. It was only by the grace of God that I decided not to put it off for that long. When I got the recall notice and was waiting in the exam room to see if the radiologist wanted to do an ultrasound in addition to the second mammogram, one thought kept running through my head--"This is it...it's your turn now". (We've had five friends diagnosed with various forms of cancer just since January.)

I didn't tell anyone except my husband at first, but as more tests and procedures were scheduled, I had to inform my boss and co-workers. Once the biopsy report showed cancer, we started to share the news with family and friends who we knew would support and pray for us. Our youngest daughter had just moved across the country to join her husband who had gone west to work. That was the most difficult of all the conversations, but I tried to reassure her that the doctors were using another "C" word besides cancer in my case--"CURABLE". It sounds like she's doing fine now with the encouragement of her husband and church friends and frequent calls back home.

My surgery was 10 days ago--a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy which removed three of the lymph nodes under my arm. The 8mm tumor was classed as invasive ductile carcinoma, but we have to wait for the pathology report before the surgeon will discuss the stage or grade, hopefully next week. From there, I'm pretty sure I'll have radiation, but can skip chemo if the lymph nodes are clear of cancer (at least, that is my understanding of the situation).

It has seemed like a whirlwind of appointments, but we are so thankful for the prompt and excellent care I have received from all the medical personnel, as well as from our family and friends. We consider it all to be from the hand of our Heavenly Father and we'll continue to trust Him for each day He gives us.

August 2015

By the Grace of God, I've made it through the past year and the journey continues. My tiny tumor was found to have aggressive cancer cells so I went through the process of considering how chemo would affect my life and my family.v A delayed pathology report left us hanging in limbo for a few weeks before we finally got the news that the tumor was HER2 negative and no chemo was required. Twenty-five rounds of radiation were administered at a hospital 3 hours away from our home, so I stayed at the on-site hostel from Monday to Friday, and came home on the weekends. Friends and neighbors arranged transportation to and from the hospital while my husband worked overtime to keep us afloat financially and to keep from missing me too much.

Tamoxifen was started in July after the radiation was finished and a new leg of the journey began. Side effects were leg cramps at night and hot flashes every couple of hours, day and night. My family doctor did my regular yearly check-up in October and a couple of things had changed. My thyroid had gone under-active but it went back to normal in a couple of months. My PAP test showed some abnormal cells--probably due to lack of estrogen--but that also cleared up in a few months. MRI and mammogram were both good, and my oncologist suggested regular exercise could help with lingering side-effects of Tamoxifen so I need to be more disciplined at that. Treatment will probably be extended to ten years, but I'll just have to take one day at a time and keep trusting the One Who holds me in His hands.

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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