Welcome to our CaringBridge website. Many thanks to Lynne Williamson for setting this up, so that we can keep our family and friends updated with my diagnosis, status and prognosis. I so appreciate everyone's support--all of your notes, calls, messages and many, many words of hope and encouragement lift me each and every day. It is through my faith in God, and through all of you, that I can find the strength each day to once again fight this fight and overcome this battle.
It was almost 19 years ago that I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 30 years old, had a 1 year old son, a great husband and a fulfilling career--I was loving life. One day at a routine doctor's appt, my doctor discovered an unusual lump, sent me for some tests, and before I knew it I was told I had breast cancer. It was hard for me to believe because I felt so normal and healthy. But that's how cancer is....it doesn't discriminate and rarely lets you know its there...it attacks silently and from within. Luckily mine was caught early and it was a manageable type of cancer (DCIS and LCIS left breast). I faced it head on and after a year and a half of surgeries and treatments, I was cancer free and healthy once again. Over the years our family grew, we changed jobs, moved houses, met new friends and experienced the normal ups and downs of life. I found my new normal, and life was great again. Did I worry about the threat of recurrence? Sure, but for the most part I didn't let it bother me and cancer certainly doesn't rule my life.
Then, in 2007, my brother was affected. This time the demon was colon cancer. A brutal, wretched form of cancer that is extremely hard to detect and to fight. He fought valiantly for many years, but ultimately the cancer won its battle. Next came lymphoma for my mom, who had already battled and survived breast cancer earlier in her life. The lymphoma proved to be tougher for her to beat, and ultimately it, too, won out in 2013. I felt like cancer was invading my family, one person at a time. But I'd been healthy for so long that I didn't really consider it could be me again (even the string of "pink ribbon stickers" on my Komen Race for the Cure hat was getting long!)
In 2014 things started to change for me; I had a questionable result come back from a routine mammogram, and with follow-up tests and biopsies lurking I began to get nervous. Luckily, pathology deemed it benign and the doctors chalked it up to the fact that it was all very normal tissue and they just get overly cautious with me because of my history. Unfortunately, the following two years led to many questionable results from diagnostic tests, and several more biopsies. Ultimately, this October, my biopsy results came back as malignant. Once more, I've been diagnosed with DCIS, this time in the right breast. So far, there is nothing to lead us to believe that the cancer has spread anywhere else, and they are not deeming it a recurrence from the original cancer. Further pathology following my surgery will determine more along those lines. For now, I'm facing my second mastectomy and reconstruction, on December 15. A tough time of year, but also one where I'm finding myself surrounded by loved ones and friends who will be home for the holidays. I've found a wonderful group of doctors (one's a fellow workmate of Jim's from his days at the UCHSC and the other is now with a plastics group in Denver who's famous for doing Dolly Parton's work--so I guess I can't go wrong there, lol!) All kidding aside, I am confident that I'm in good hands. Even though the stress of going back again to the surgeon's table, managing the recovery period, taking time off work from a job I love, and not being able to be my regular "mom" self for awhile is daunting, I'm ready to move forward to a place of healing. A dear friend reminded me this week to "Let Go and Let God." Funny thing is I used to have a magnet on my fridge with that phrase years ago. I've also been reminded not to let my yesterdays steal from my todays and tomorrows. So I will choose to live in the moment, and now again.... I'm keeping the Faith.