heidi hansell

OK, here I go! It has been almost 7 1/2 years since my diagnosis. Wow! 7 1/2 years! Woo hoo! It has been an amazing journey. God has taught me so much through this. I am so blessed to be here today. Grateful for the opportunities He has blessed me with. Soooo here is my story.......

It was March 2012. I had almost completed my first year back to college after being a Hair Stylist for 15 years. I was getting ready for bed and noticed something was different with my left breast. It seemed swollen. I started feeling around (I only checked my breasts about once a year-LADIES PLEASE PLEASE CHECK YOUR TATAS!! It may save your life!). As I was feeling around I found a mass the size of a large gumball. I will admit I was pretty freaked out. I saw my OBGYN the next day and she got me in for a mammogram immediately. From there they said I needed an ultra sound led biopsy. It was only a few days that I got the news. I remember it like it was yesterday(oh crap now the tears are coming). I received a call from the nurse and she said something like "your results came in and you have invasive ductal carcinoma" I said what is that. She said "it means you have CANCER. Wait! What? I am to young to have cancer. I have 5 children that need me. This can't be true---those were just a few of the thoughts running through my head. I polity told the nurse thank you and good bye. 

The  following weeks were a blurr. I let my family know and I put on a smile. I had to be strong. But, I was not. I was scared to death. I leaned on God for my strength. He is what got me through.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I had a port put it-thank God for this amazing procedure that keeps me from having so many injections and needles and pokes. I had my surgery for a double radical mastectomy a month after being diagnosed. I always say be careful what you wish for lol---I wanted a boob job but not quite for this reason. They put expanders in to start the process of getting my implants. I love that on the outside my breasts look real and like nothing happened. I struggle at times with my body image due to the scars. I have learned to love myself no matter what. I have learned to be grateful through the storms. This has by far been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. 

I started chemo right away. Losing my hair was so traumatizing to say the least. The weird thing is it was also very empowering! I rocked being bald! I had a lot of wonderful support. I lost a few friends along the way too. I think it is hard for people to know they can lose someone to this disease. I love them anyways. You see another thing I have learned over the last 7 1/2 years is that God calls us to love. He wants us to share our testimony in order to share the gospel with others. I am a Survivor of many things. I am kicking Cancers butt!!

I see my oncologist regularly still. I have had some scares. 3 years ago I had to have a complete hysterectomy due to my oncologist thinking the medicine I was taking for my breast cancer caused uterine cancer. I did not have it. I lost so much blood during this surgery that I had to have a transfusion. I was anemic and very weak. It was a hard recovery. I have now gained a whole boat load of hot flashes though! Does it ever stop? I am a sweat pot off and on all day. I can't take hormones to help stop them either. Needless to say I have tons of anxiety when it comes to going to the oncologist. She has been great don't get me wrong, I just feel like I am always looking over my shoulder. 

I am on here to share the HOPE I gained from this experience. When I heard the word Cancer I thought I would only have a short amount of time here on earth and with my babies. The uncertainty was overwhelming. I held on to Jesus and the hope He gave me. I am grateful for those that were by my side through this. Their love and encouragement helped me remain positive and gave me courage. My mom especially was my rock!. She was at almost every appointment with me, taking notes, asking questions and advocating for me. I am so blessed to have such wonderful parents that show me love all the time. 

I have met some absolutely amazing people through this process too. I have also lost a few friends to cancer along the way. I trust in God and His plan for my life. I am back to going to school and have one year left until my Bachelors in Psychology. I look forward to seeing what God has in store. He has laid it on my heart to help woman that are coming out of trauma or living it. In just over 7 years all but one of my children have become adults. I got to go to all their graduations. I balled my eyes out at the fact that I am ALIVE and I got to be present for them. How fabulous is that? I look forward to many more milestones. 

I have a heart for helping others. Having cancer has really opened my eyes to loving others and what that truly means. I am to love all! I will do my best to do just that.

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