Hi. My name is Jamie, and I am a breast cancer survivor of one and a half years. I was 42 years old when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, and I was then leading a very typical lifestyle for a woman my age. I am a mother of two teenagers and work fulltime as an English as a Second Language Teacher, so needless to say, my life consisted of working, running my children here and there, and trying to balance all of the stresses that come with a busy life schedule. I also had just lost my father to cancer 6 weeks before my diagnosis. When I was first diagnosed, I just kept thinking, “This does not fit into my schedule. I don’t have time for this. There is too much that needs to be done. Nothing can happen to me, I have to finish raising my children.” Through the process, I went on the computer and found the Breast Cancer Coalition. I came to a brown bag lunch to see if anybody else out there was feeling the same way. What a life changing experience! I connected with other women who could relate in every way. Through the wisdom and help of others, I learned how to accept help, appreciate the small moments in life, worry less about the unknown, and just live for today. Through this life changing experience, I have also learned the power of good friends and have seen how important it is to have caring professionals treating you. The people that I have encountered through each stage of the journey, my doctors, nurses, etc. have all been angels and have no idea how much their smiles and encouragement have meant to me and all those that they treat. I am so thankful to everybody who has changed my life. Having cancer was not an easy process to say the least, between all the surgeries, chemo, radiation, and of course, all the nice side effects from the medications, but it has been an eye opening experience. It has taught me to focus more on the present and appreciate life’s little gifts. I now marvel at the clouds. I don’t think I ever stopped long enough to even notice their beauty before. Life now is a challenge. I need to learn how to balance all that I have learned through this process while reentering my old life and creating a “new normal”. I am so grateful to the Breast Cancer Coalition for being the one constant through this whole process. It is there for you when you are newly diagnosed, going through treatment, and now finding your “new normal”. As I continue my journey, I look forward to attending seminars, yoga, and brown bags at the Breast Cancer Coalition and reconnecting with my new “breast friends”.
In this picture I am wearing earrings and a necklace that were given to me by my parents and my siblings. My parents had given us all the same earrings as the last present before my dad died. Sadly, I lost one of those earrings and was devastated. On the day I got my port, my sisters and brother brought me over a new pair of earrings and said to wear one from the old pair and one from the new pair when I went to chemo, so I could be surrounded by my whole family. The necklace was also given to me by my parents. I wore these to each and every chemo appointment. It felt nice to have that support throughout the whole process. I am very thankful to my whole family, including my husband and my two beautiful daughters.