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How To Deal With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story

Photo: Kiesha [My Family 2009]
I don’t talk about it often, but I thought that this month would be the perfect time to share what went on four years ago when my mother, at just 40 years old, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Keep in mind, we aren’t sharing this story to scare anyone or to make anyone sad. We are sharing because I know there are people who are dealing with their diagnosis right now and I know the comfort of feeling that you are not alone in your fight!

My mom was brave enough to share the different stages of emotions she went through when getting diagnosed. This is her story:

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 40 years old. Getting a mammogram saved my life. So ladies PLEASE GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS! The percentage rate of survival is very high when found early so don’t let fear of a mammogram stop you from getting one. I had no family history and never smoked. I was diagnosed with Stage1 invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and chemotherapy. I’m happy to say that I’m a four year survivor!!  Although every breast cancer story is unique and everyone’s emotions different, I thought I would share the emotions I went through when I heard those three words….”You have cancer”

My first feeling was fear.

My children are my life and I didn’t know what stage I was so I thought to myself was how do I tell them? I wanted to say everything will be fine but I didn’t know that and I didn’t want to lie to them so I told them the truth: “I have cancer and I don’t know what stage yet but I will fight with everything I have!”

 After fear came the overwhelming sadness.

Why is this happening to me?  I would just cry on and off all day, sometimes my husband would have to leave work just to stay with me while I cried.

Then came the Anger.

How dare my body turn against me!

After the Anger came Confusion.

So many different doctors and all of them telling me something different and dealing with insurance issues can be overwhelming and confusing.

My advice to anyone newly diagnosed is to share all your feelings with your loved ones and don’t be afraid to ask for help! There’s plenty of it out there including social workers to help with insurance and disability information and our local cancer society can help with any questions you might have- they’re a big help to our community. An organization that also helped me out is Traci’s Hope.  I hope some of my story was helpful. I would like to say a special thank you to my family…after all, I didn’t fight this hard on my own, they were right there fighting along side me!

 I hope this helps those going through the same thing to know that no matter what you are feeling, you are not wrong for feeling that way and you are not the only one going through it. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will send any questions my mom’s way!

My heart goes out to all of those fighting, those who’ve won, and those who have sadly lost their battle. <3

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