Year of first diagnosis: 2011
Kind of cancer: Breast cancer
1) What was your initial reaction to hearing “You have cancer?”
When I was told I had breast cancer, I wasn’t really shocked or scared. My paternal grandmother and my mother both had it and didn’t die from it. I come from families with strong spiritual faith and turning to God was my first instinct. My second instinct was to tell my family, friends and acquaintances so they could pray for me.
2) What has been your greatest learning experience?
Hmmmm, being amazed with the treatments available, the expertise and gentleness shown to patients by the medical staff and instantaneous sympathy shown me by my friends and family.
3) What has proved most helpful in staying with the process?
The most helpful thing was the way the Spectrum “team” of people kept track of what was happening and arranged for tests, treatments, appointments that I needed.
4) What resources (people, places, books) have offered the greatest support?
Resources: I didn’t read the materials I was given because I didn’t want to know the worst that could happen. (Uhhuh, I’m the stick my head in the sand type). Helpful people: my family, church family who visited and sent cards, called, sent messages on Facebook, brought meals and prayed for me. They were such a comfort. My pastor sat with me during the various surgeries and came to visit with I was hospitalized with MRSA. Oh and how can I forget my husband? He doesn’t deal well with medical stuff but he barely blinked an eye when he learned I needed shots in my stomach, gauze packing removed from the surgical site, and an infusion 3 times a day. He was at every appointment and never fainted once or complained.
5) Has your own spirituality been enhanced or lessened by cancer?
My spiritual life is pretty strong to start with but I’m so glad that I knew God has promised he would be with me throughout every step of the way.
6) What would you say to someone diagnosed with cancer today?
Take someone with you to hear the medical talk so if one doesn’t get it, maybe the other will. ASK QUESTIONS…ANYTHING. Don’t wait until your next appointment. Feel free to express any emotions you experience. I doubt you are much different than the rest of us. Also, I would suggest you keep a journal of your feelings. This helped me think through and understand things better. Also, I was proud to share my experiences through the written word and pictures so if others have to face this, it won’t seem so strange to them.