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My journey… As I begin to write, tears form in my eyes & rapidly flow down my cheek, but I wipe them all away & a smile forms because I’m now cancer free. No one ever expects to be diagnosed with cancer or any disease for that matter. May 2016 while performing a self-breast check at home I discovered a knot that wasn’t there before. I had my fiancé to fill it also & from there it went quickly. From me making an appointment with my OBGYN Dr. Rothman to scheduling an appointment with Dr. Weintritt of The National Breast Center Foundation.

I can’t tell you how many different thoughts I had in my head and all that I was thinking before my scheduled appointment. I said to myself repeatedly I don’t have cancer, I can’t have cancer. Being that my parents had heart related issues I was very prepared for any heart issues for my future. My mother had a heart transplant and my father passed away in 2010 because he was also in need of a heart.

Never in a million years would I think about breast cancer. Before my appointment something in my gut told me that I had cancer, but I wasn’t claiming it. After a biopsy and several other tests were completed, it was confirmed that I had breast cancer. When my doctor told me, I exhaled deeply and asked what are the steps from here. I was quite thankful that I performed self-checks regularly to catch it very early. It was caught at Stage 0 in my right breast, ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). I maintained a strong front and my fiancé Craig questioned me and asked was I okay and I said yes but I was scared. The first thing that came to mind was will everything be okay, what about my daughter Sania? Will I still be here to watch Sania grow up? What about my job and my new promotion? What about money? It hit me hard but not hard enough to keep me down.

My planned treatment care included chemotherapy & 28 rounds of radiation. After having a chemo port in my chest, it had to be removed later as my heart was too weak for chemotherapy. Having heart issues and surgeries heart related I understand why I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. So, my next treatment plan was radiation in which I completed 28 rounds. It’s been a lot of bumps along with the way with surgeries, heart issues and complications but I still keep on keeping on. Being out so long now it was considered long term disability and money was nothing compared to what I was making while working. My fiancé took on the entire household and my bills also minus what little I was bringing in now. My mother also helped but it was hard as she was on a fixed income, but she was there and continue to be there for me as moms would.

But Christmas of 2016 will never be forgotten. We had nothing to give our daughter and We Will Survive Cancer made Christmas possible. Not only did this organization provide gifts for our daughter but they also provided gifts for myself and my fiancé. I thank God for We Will Survive Cancer and all that they do to help people affected with breast cancer. To think that working at my job for 15 years after my FMLA ended they let me go as they were no longer able to accommodate my illness.

After my radiation I had developed neuropathy and required physical therapy of my right arm. January 5th, I had my last breast surgery which was for what I call my Dolly’s since I love Dolly Parton. Now I continue my physical therapy monthly until I get back my range of motion in my right arm and hand.

I can now smile and say that I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor. But in all honesty above that, I truly enjoy sharing my journey with others that are going through it to let them know that they are not alone and to keep on going, everything will be okay.

I thank God for my journey it’s what makes it mine. Even though my journey, my hill that I climbed may put pebbles in my shoes at the end of it I shook the pebbles out, re-laced and kept on going. It brings joy to my heart and makes me smile to being able to help others. Besides at the end we are all here to uplift one another.

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