Diagnosed with Stage 1, HER2 + Breast Cancer completely turned my world upside down at 36. In June of 2008, I found a lump in my breast I assumed was a fatty cyst. My mother and sisters had them for years, so I decided it could wait until my yearly checkup in September, which postponed diagnosis.
I was married with two young sons, and knew I had a battle with cancer, and I was going to give it all I had. I prayed to God and kept my faith strong. My family and friends rallied around; I will never forget it. The surgeon, my husband and I decided on a lumpectomy. I would then undergo a rigorous treatment plan of Herceptin for a year and six intense chemotherapy treatments throughout. Those were long days. After completion, I received 37 treatments of radiation. My sister was by my side through much of it, what a blessing. There were days I knew, as a cancer patient, I was not easy. Such sacrifice caregivers make and the emotional toll they endure watching loved ones suffer.
My sons would bring me cold cloths for my head or helped me to the bathroom when I was weak. My oldest would ask: “Mom, we can’t go anywhere without someone talking about it, why can’t we get away from hearing about it?” I explained to him we were lucky to have such an amazing community that cared about us. I told him to not think of it as a reminder but as our prayer warriors. That made it a little more tolerable for him. He was already so worried and continually hearing about my situation made him worry more.
When I began losing my hair, I told my husband we should shave it and let the boys take part. I pulled my long blonde hair back and my husband cut the ponytail portion off, then gave the clippers to the boys to clipper the rest. Oh my, the giggles sure did make my heart smile. You see, I wanted them to know they cut my hair, the cancer didn’t take it.
As a survivor, I want others to know breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. If diagnosed, contact the Pink Ribbon Fund. Asked to be their 2019 Ambassador Chair, I currently serve on the committee, with other survivors, and the allocation team. All money raised helps the residents in Bedford County.
Learn more at www.bedfordcountypinkribbonfund.com, email, firstname.lastname@example.org or Pink Ribbon Fund Facebook Page.
As I remember what it was like going through cancer, it was a short period in my life. I had to persevere through it. At that time, was I scared? Absolutely! But I grew to learn I had the strength to make it through. That strength was tested again, when I lost my husband at the age of 40. I truly feel cancer prepared me for so many chapters in my life. Your life is a book of many chapters. Stay in position, the page turns daily.
God Bless You All,
Tisia Sue Maxwell