Beyond Words: Surviving Breast Cancer Mistakes and All HTML version

doing what I considered all the right things to stay healthy. I exercised everyday, ate
fruits and vegetables, and had quit smoking for over twenty years. Suddenly this disease
overtook me from the inside and it was all I could do to stay ahead of it. It became a
struggle just to remain a functioning person. All the daily tasks that I had taken for
granted were no longer possible.
Stop for a moment and think about how you would feel if tomorrow you couldn’t tie your
own shoes or get dressed without help, you could no longer feed yourself or take a drink
of water without assistance, but most of all, what if you were unable to walk or
communicate? Even after all this time, I can see myself in that wheelchair envying others
and wondering if I would ever be normal again. The feeling of desperation I felt every
time I couldn’t feed myself or sit up on my own was overwhelming. It was a nightmare
from which I didn’t know if or when I would ever wake up.
This is not a story about right or wrong. It’s not a story why I survived and someone else
didn’t. It’s a story about coping with life and what it throws at you. It’s about staying on
the right path through hardships and disappointments. It’s a story about surviving cancer.
I am not in the medical profession and therefore may have some of the terms and
descriptions wrong. I am not a mind reader and, therefore, may have misunderstood
peoples’ true motives and thoughts. But I am the survivor in this story and it’s a story I
need to tell.
This story was written to help people understand that no matter how hard life’s journey
has become, it is worth the fight. There were times when I wanted to give in to the
exhaustion and the pain; I would feel sorry for myself and want to quit. But then I would
be reminded of all I had to live for, such as a husband who counted on me, children who
needed me, and grandchildren who deserved to be spoiled. In the end, I ultimately picked
myself up and pushed forward again.
This story is also a resource for those who may find themselves traveling a similar path.
When I first learned I had cancer, I had no one to turn to. I had only known two people
with cancer and neither one talked about it. I wasted a lot of time and energy lost in a
maze of confusion. I didn’t know where to direct my doubts or my questions. I realized
that it was up to me to search for the answers that would help me make the right
decisions. I quickly sought out survivors and talked to them about how they handled the
nausea, the hair loss, and the emotional turmoil. They taught me that the grief and fear I
felt was normal and that someday the panic would dim. I was searching for a reassurance
that I could believe in a future with some degree of hope.
―The results of your mammogram showed a small cyst on your left breast. Come back in
six months,‖ my doctor said. I was frantic. Deep down, every woman fears those words
and I was no different. I could barely breathe as I sat on the examination table letting the
words sink in. I was only forty-eight-years-old and I was healthy. There had to be a
I felt frozen and empty as I heard the news and went into denial mode. I falsely
convinced myself that the doctor had to be wrong and there was no reason for worry.