Shortly after a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, I performed a manual exam on myself and felt a lump. I scheduled an appointment for a mammogram, and the news was not good. After the exam and mammogram, my worst fears were realized. I had breast cancer.
My doctor told me that because of the location of the lump, I wasn’t eligible for a lumpectomy. Otherwise I would have to have a mammogram every six months, and I just couldn’t live with the anxiety, so I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy.
chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Broward Health North, and the doctors and entire staff were extremely caring. Their support, and that of my family and friends, meant so much to me. I could not have gone through this without them. Even my son’s friends were very concerned, and they came over to help me resurface my driveway. They invited me to their parties and other events to keep my spirits up.
I was not left to fight breast cancer alone, and that is essential for anyone who is a cancer survivor. It is important to stay as active as possible and try to maintain a daily routine. I told myself that I had control over my life; cancer was not going to control me.
There were days of depression. There were days of “why me?” But there were more days of loving support from family and friends, and that’s what got me through. I continued to work at the Nursing Administrative office at Broward Health North, and the support I received was incredible, especially when dealing with side effects like losing my hair from the chemotherapy treatments.
I stayed positive by walking the beach and visiting friends, and the best advice I can give is to join a support group. My ordeal began a year ago, last October, and being a cancer survivor has made me more appreciative of life. Wake up and hear the birds, smell the flowers and live in the moment. I just became so much more appreciative, especially of my son who was phenomenal.
There are still scary times of not knowing what life can or will bring, but thanks to family and friends, I’ve stayed positive. I do as much charity work as possible, most recently as part of the Broward Health North team at the Deerfield Beach Relay for Life.