Picture the scenario……my daughter was getting married! Such a wonderful happy event in our lives! She lived out of town so all the planning, details, decisions were made by me. I loved every minute of it! My home was filled with excitement and joy, company arriving from out of town and last-minute details were being attended to. There was nothing that could change the anticipation of this glorious event! At least that is what I thought…….
Two weeks before my daughter’s wedding I received that dreaded phone call…. “I am sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer.” My knees began to shake and my mind became a fog. Not sure I could even tell you what the rest of that conversation was. My whole world suddenly became saddened by this news. I thought to myself, this cannot be; why now at the happiest time of my life, why now? But then there never really is a good time for such dreadful news. Then the dilemma of whether I should tell everyone now or wait till after the wedding? I decided to tell everyone and had them promise me that they would not talk about it with me at the wedding because I did not want to take anything away from my daughter’s day! My whole family and close friends were on board and they all respected my wishes and nothing was said at the wedding! But the sad part is that I barely remember anything at that wedding; I could not enjoy the culmination of a year of planning. I planted a smile on my face at the same time I was screaming inside!! I felt totally robbed of this great event!
My daughter got married on Saturday and I had my bilateral mastectomy on the next Wednesday. I could not wait another day. My whole adult life was always dampened by the anxiety of having mammograms. I have a list of family members with breast cancer and I always wondered when the shoe was going to drop for me. I had breast checks every three months, mammograms and ultrasounds and many cysts aspirated in the process. Yes, not fun stuff not to mention the anxiety of what the outcome may be. Out of the 4 levels of density my breasts were the extreme. I knew that mammograms or ultrasounds would have a problem reading dense breasts so I pushed my hardest to get a MRI approved. I did not succeed the first two tries because my insurance company would not approve it. After 2 years of trying, I finally got approved and they told me I would have to wait 6 months for the MRI because my last “normal” mammogram was just done. So take one guess when that was? Six months later was the month of the wedding!
Surgery and reconstruction went well. I feel blessed that I did not have to have chemotherapy or radiation. Not a single day goes by without thanking God for another day of life. But months following my surgery and reconstruction, I had to adjust to my “new normal” which was no easy task. This is where the Breast Cancer Coalition came to my rescue. The Brown Bag group gave me the hope and inspiration I so desperately needed. I guess you can call it “comfort in numbers.” I finally felt for the first time that I was not alone and these women understood my emotions and feelings. I have met wonderful friends at Brown Bag who have become an important part of my healing and my life.
The Breast Cancer Coalition is a wonderful organization that I am thrilled to be a part of. I enjoy volunteering wherever needed and help with some of the major Coalition events as a way of giving back to an organization that has helped me through a very difficult part of my life. BCCR put the wind under my wings so I can fly again! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!