I was a single mother, working three jobs to support my children. It was also my first mammogram. I didn’t want to do it; there were so signs, I didn’t feel any lumps or pain and I was a small woman. There was no history of breast cancer in my family, so why should I go? My co workers encouraged me to do it since I turned 40, and I should do it,asa precaution. I walked out of my first appointment because I was afraid. The second appointment, I was accompanied by friend, who stayed to make sure I didn’t leave.
After the mammogram I was scheduled for a biopsy where they found three tumors in my left breast and two in my right. My doctor called me in, I brought my adult son with me, and she gave us the results. I had breast cancer. It had started in a lobule where it had nested and it had begun to spread. Whatever was said after that, I can’t remember. All I could think about was…I had breast cancer. There was surgery, chemo, radiation….I was overwhelmed.
Being single, I didn’t have a significant other to comfort me and ease my fears. My family and friends did what they could to calm me down, but the fact that I was to deal with this alone, made me very anxious, I was terrified and I became depressed. On July 1, 2008 I had a partial mastectomy to remove the three tumors on my left breast. After a few weeks of recovery I started chemotherapy and radiation followed. It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, even with the support of my friends and family, I still felt alone. I wasn’t sure if I would ever find anyone to love me and my deformed body.
It’s been three years now. I’ve gotten used to my scars and my sassy hair do. I’m feeling stronger and I have more energy. I’m still on Tamoxifen but completed my Zolidex last year, so I only have 2 more years of treatment. The silver lining? Well, I have learned to appreciate being well. I can do my yoga without the bone pain. I can taste food now and I savor every bite. I appreciate watching sunsets, walking on the beach and I don’t work so hard anymore. I feel like I’ve been given another chance to experience the world. I have better relationships with my friends and family because I know how it felt for me when I was so sick, I didn’t think I would make it to see another day. Because of that, I don’t want one day to go by without them knowing I appreciate and love them very much.
My silver lining to the big cancer cloud is a new way of looking at life with my heart and soul. I enjoy the sights of seeing artistic creations and the beauty in nature; the sound of laughter, the rain falling, the waves crashing and beautiful music. I enjoy the way the sand feels between my toes and ocean mist on my face. Everything is amplified. Things are more intense and exciting. I am more emotional: when something is funny, I cry, when something makes me happy I cry even more. I’m not afraid to show my emotions or tears. I hug everyone I meet, because I’m happy. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I’ll stop my car to watch cloud formations. I am a new person. If this cancer comes back, I know that I’m a stronger person, and with that strength, I can fight for all of these things I enjoy, and for all the people that I love. Cancer tried to break me, but it has made me find myself instead. Becoming a new person and rediscovering this wonderful world we live in, that is the silver lining.