Twist on Cancer: Well, I thought I had said it all before, the lessons that cancer had taught me, but then came the second battle. My first battle with breast cancer was at the age of 39, I had been married less than five years, and had two toddlers (18 months and 3 ½ years.) The diagnosis was a devastating shock, and my cancer had already progressed into the lymph nodes. My two year battle was fought with 6 months of intense chemo, bi-lateral mastectomy and 40 rounds of radiation, along with reconstruction surgeries. Through it all, my motivation was to be around for my family. My husband made sure I had the very best of care, and it was the prayers of many that helped support me through this very difficult time.
Then, after celebrating 15 years of being cancer free, I was again shockingly diagnosed with a second primary (a whole new type) of breast cancer- within my less than 5% of remaining breast tissue. I couldn’t decide if I should go to Vegas or stay away! However, I knew what I had learned the first time…God knew when my first breath would be and ONLY he will know when my last will take place. What happens in between is for me to do my part in taking care of myself and to not take one day for granted.
The goal of my second bout with breast cancer was to find joy in each day! Admittedly, some days were much more difficult than others, but again I had so many prayers buoying me. So many dear friends that were cheering me on, driving me to chemo, and helping me save my hair! And, this time my children were right by my side supporting me through the process! They saw me lean into my faith, cling to hope and fight with tenacity. I reminded them that God is good-even when our circumstances are not. What better legacy can you leave to your children?
By now, I’ve stopped counting each year I’ve been cancer free, because it’s too confusing based on the second round! I simply try to celebrate each day-remembering that life is fragile and short; focusing on finding joy and fulfilling my purpose. I am blessed to be cancer free again!