Cheryl D.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink

My story began October 10 years ago. I was in the middle of a divorce, dealing with the day to day problems and the stress of a divorce while working every day and trying to maintain my sanity.

It was past time for my yearly mammogram (three years past). I scheduled an appointment for a mammogram, plus all the other medical work ups that needed to be done, because I was about to lose my insurance. To make a long story short, the mammogram was abnormal, and I had to then face a sentinel node biopsy. But I just knew everything was fine. My follow up appointment was scheduled to be on a Friday. When the doctor’s office called and told me there had been a cancellation and could I come in today, being Wednesday? “Of course”, I said. I went in that afternoon to see the surgeon. When she walked into the room, she said that she was glad I had been good about keeping up with my routine mammograms. (Which I had not). Because they had found the cancer early and blah blah blah. That’s all I heard. Total shock. I asked her, “are you sure you have the bright patient?” She checked the chart and yes, it was mine. I had breast cancer. The following Monday I had breast cancer surgery. When I went to sleep, I had no idea what the outcome was going to be. I learned later that they did not have to do a mastectomy. It was a large lumpectomy.

The surgery was outpatient and I was able to go home later that day. I had a great employer who let me take two weeks off work at that time. When I returned to work it was time to begin the radiation treatments. I was so depressed at that time that I didn’t care if I took radiation. Between the divorce and being alone and discovering I had cancer, breast cancer at that, I just didn’t care about going on any longer. At the Cancer Center there was a wonderful Nurse Navigator who talked to me numerous times and even volunteered/threatened to come get me and bring me for my treatments. She had been through breast cancer two times, so she knew what I was going through.

I began my seven weeks of five days a week radiation treatment and when my last treatment was over, I went to my car and sat and cried. I was just overwhelmed. I had reached another milestone. Thank God I did not have to undergo any chemotherapy.

I am thankful to my surgeon, my oncologist who I have seen now for ten years, the nurse navigator who treated me like her sister, the plastic surgeon who worked his wonders, my employer at that time and my family for being there.

Today I visited my oncologist, who has been there for 10 years, and he told me, “all your blood work is good, everything looks fine, come back in one year.”

Ten years a breast cancer survivor. I never thought that I would see this time in my life. Who knows what the next ten has in store for me.

-Cheryl D.