Elizabeth’s Story

Site created on July 21, 2018

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Journal entry by Elizabeth Waslaski Grove

One year ago today I had a repeat mammogram & ultrasound after a suspicious lump was found on my right breast during my annual physical. I will never forget the doctor's face when he walked into the room where I was still laying on the table after the technician was done. There was something in the air...I just knew he was not going to give me good news. He sat beside me and told me in no uncertain terms that I had cancer. A later biopsy would reveal that I had Stage 1B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I had a PET scan and although it did not show that the cancer had spread, after a lumpectomy and lymph node dissection my doctors learned it had indeed spread to one lymph node. Because of a long family history of cancer, it was decided that I would need chemotherapy and radiation. Needless to say it has been a very long year! The chemo was rough, I'm not gonna lie! The first four chemo treatments were stronger and zapped my strength like I have never experienced before or since. It was all I could do to get up and dressed in the mornings and make my way to the coffee pot! The following twelve treatments were not as strong but it still seemed to take most of my energy to do the minimum. Kyle and the kids handled everything here at home for me. I didn't even have the stamina to wash the dishes, clean, do laundry or cook a meal. I went to chemo and doctor appointments and that was it. My world became very small. Netflix became my friend, along with music, our dogs and puzzles. I got through and next was radiation. At first I thought it was a piece of cake - I just felt tired. Then the skin irritation started and by the end of the prescribed treatments it was pretty bad and very painful.  It took a lot longer to heal than I expected. But once again I got through it. I am currently going through reconstruction surgeries, the first of which I had last week. Recovery was going good until I overdid it last weekend and so I took it easy all day yesterday. This journey has been long and difficult but with the help of God, my family and friends I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel! I have at least one more surgery ahead (I will find out more on Friday when I see my surgeon) and I am looking forward to being DONE and truly calling myself a SURVIVOR. I need to get mammograms every six months for two years and I will be taking Tamoxifen for ten years...but the likelihood of recurrence or the cancer spreading is pretty slim. If that happens we will face it one day at a time. That is all we are given anyway! I cannot thank everyone enough who has supported me through all of this - cards, gifts, meals, phone calls, texts, facebook messages - I soaked up and cherished every bit of support, especially the prayers. Without prayer I would have given up and thrown in the towel because it was very, very hard at times. I remember crying on the phone to my sister during one particularly difficult week and I told her I was DONE, that I QUIT...but she said that was just not an option! It bolstered my courage and somehow I moved forward and in retrospect I can see the valleys and I know that is when people were praying for me. I can assure you that God heard and answered every single prayer and helped me through. Now I don't want to just be a Cancer Survivor - I want to THRIVE. Just yesterday Kyle and I took our daily walk - something I have not been able to do since last fall. We walked longer and farther than I had since before chemo and it felt SO good! Thank you again to each and every person who has been there for me. I have the best family and friends a girl could every dream of!!
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