Beth C.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink

August 11, 2014 is a day I will never forget….32 years old, dairy farmer wife and mother of 3….just being told I have stage 3 breast cancer.  6 months prior to that was when I suspected something was wrong.  Being so young and no family history and no health insurance made thus diagnosis near impossible.  Finally after months of being told I was fine…..1 mammogram…2 ultrasounds and a course of antibiotics….I finally found a surgeon that did a biopsy to reveal what I had been telling them for months.  So after I had a moment to deal with the anger and fear….I was jumping into treatment.  I had a port placed, started chemo…..6 months of hard chemo….followed by a bilateral mastectomy 3 weeks after chemo completion…..weeks of physical therapy and expander fills….I had to start weekly radiation treatments….32 total.  My skin was badly burned so about 5 weeks in…..had to take 2 weeks off to heal.  Once I was finished with radiation….I started on a hormone blocker called Tamoxifen.   In April 2016….I had my reconstruction surgery where they made my new “foobs” as I call them out of my belly fat.  It was a long surgery and a long recovery….but it was worth it.  So I thought I was free and clear…..but little did I know….cancer was waiting to make its appearance again.  The fall of 2017….I had started to not feel myself.  Was tired a lot….felt off.  Since I was going back to see my local oncologist every couple months….i brought it to his attention.  I kept being told it was a side effect from the tamoxifen…..and who was I to doubt him??? Well I did….only because I learned to listen to my body.  December 2017….I checked myself into the ER because I feared I was having a heart attack.  I had terrible heartburn that wouldn’t go away….regardless of what I took, what I ate…etc.  My blood work all came back normal….it was not my heart.  After fighting with the ER doc to do more testing…a CT scan showed an enlarged lymph node in my chest….which was causing my discomfort.  And the “C” word was brought up again….REALLY! I was so angry…..but I decided to go see a new oncologist.  After getting not one, but 2 biopsies on the node….my fear became reality.  It was cancer….I was/am now stage 4….terminal, metastatic Breast cancer.  There is no cure. After starting on new chemo, oral this time…..and having PET scans every 3 months…..they have found disease in my bones, liver and brain.  Cancer doesn’t define who I am…..but it is my new normal….my husband and kids new normal.  I have learned a lot….lost a lot…..but gained more than you can imagine.  My faith in God and love of my friends and family has gotten me to where I am today.  One thing I have learned through all of this is to trust your body….cancer doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have, how healthy you are….it will uproot your life in a blink of an eye.  Your body will tell you….you need to listen and stay proactive.  Not only am I a Breast cancer survivor….I am a Breast cancer Warrior…..and I am tough enough to wear pink!

-Beth C.