I am a second grade teacher and admittedly a work-a-holic! I enjoy reading and stamping/crafting and using technology with my children at school. I am proud to say that I did not miss work during my journey with BC except for surgeries and my 1/2 days of treatment!
My journey began with a routine mammo in January of 2011. When I was called back I knew something was going on. I was only 43. Ironically, I have ALWAYS had a feeling all of my life that I would get cancer - just thought it would be skin cancer since I am a sun worshiper. I also have a phobia about anyone and vomiting and had often commented to others about "I don't know what I would do if I ever had to have Chemo". Wake up call - there I was - the one who WOULD have to face it. The hardest thing I had to do during the whole thing was to tell my parents.
My lumpectomy went well - lymph nodes removed, but due to a breakdown and anxiety, bad reaction to anesthesia, nausea, and a need to go back in for clean margins, I was in the hospital the first time for 6 days. HA - I thought I would be back to work by then! The loss of control is what got to me. I am definitely a type A personality. Diagnosis - Stage IIIa - 11 out of 14 lymph nodes tested positive.
The next surgery for my port brought a punctured lung - so another unexpected 5 day stay in the hospital for that one. On to chemo.... I actually did quite well with this phase of treatment - much better than I had ever dreamed. I only wished someone would have told me that I would GAIN weight rather than the expected weight loss I was looking for. I had 8 dose dense treatments and finished in July of 2012.
Radiation started just as I went back to school in the fall. I had leave every day with the children to get to therapy appointments. I was so thankful not to have to be off of work for that though. I did well with treatment - none of the exhaustion that so many find themselves dealing with. My last treatment got postponed TWICE due to malfunctioning equipment. Talk about frustrating!
My oncologist recommended having my ovaries out. So, that surgery happened in November of 2011. No long hospital stay that time and I was in and out in a day and decorating my house for the holidays two days later! I am thankful that was done too as there were abnormal cells found on my tubes. Dr. said he would have most likely seen me for ovarian cancer within 5 years as well.
Since then all has been clear. I am feeling more like a patient now than before mostly due to side effects of meds. I have severe joint pain and LOTS of hot flashes, BUT I am thankful each time I leave the doctor office as he reminds me each time how worried they were about me at time of diagnosis and that my prognosis is looking better and better. Funny, he didn't voice that at the time....
My motto for life now is - you don't know how strong you are until strong is the only thing there is to be. I have conquered a lot and am proud of it!
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