Name: Mary Margaret
Year of first diagnosis: 2011
Kind of cancer: Breast cancer
I remember a doctor holding my hand after the biopsy and saying that it was cancer. I couldn’t grasp it – didn’t react then or even later. I felt numb. I didn’t cry until about halfway through chemo and then not a lot. I’m already cried out from other things I have been through. My mind was clear and I knew immediately what action I wanted to take – get it out as fast as possible. This surprised my doctor but she moved right away to get me to the right surgeon. Once there (in a matter of days) we scheduled a mastectomy right away.
I was angry with God and blamed him. Hadn’t I already had enough in my life from the beginning and on-going? I kept asking why me and why now? Later I decided that I had things to learn from this.
I was so surprised at the outpouring of support from so many – my own church, my daughter’s church and the people at my new home in a retirement community. They all prayed for me, sent me cards, visited, etc. I had thought I had few friends and have been so amazed and gratified to find how many I do have.
Then I met Sister Sue, one of the chaplains at the hospital. She really reached me. The small card with a lovely saying on it that she gave to me helped me to see God as only good and that he was with me. I came to feel him so close to me and could feel my prayers reaching him for the first time in my life.
I am now a year out from finishing chemotherapy and do not have to see the doctor again for six months! I feel well but am much changed emotionally. I find that my priorities are much different. I used to have a business orientation and now I am gravitating to doing things that help people such as serving as a comforter for those going through difficult times, working on my own faith, and trying to forge closer relationships with those who have been estranged from me.
Cancer can be a real learning experience if you are open to that. It can be life changing in so many ways and can enrich your own life and that of others around you. So much healing is possible with medicine today that there is great hope for a good outcome. As a doctor said to me, “Live life to the fullest” and I wholeheartedly support that. Don’t delay reaching your important goals and repair close relationships that may be damaged. See goodness in yourself and others and celebrate that.