I am proud and blessed to say that I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. As a breast cancer awareness advocate; author (and co-author) and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader, I share my “Courageous Diva” journey. My first battle with cancer started on my 47th birthday, February 27, 2003 when I went to the gynecologist for my annual pap smear and during the breast exam, the doctor found a lump in my right breast. Neither my doctor nor I were that concerned because I had previously gone through two biopsies that were negative. However, a mammogram revealed that cancer had decided to pay me a visit this time.
Although the oncologist I chose advised me there was a possibility this cancer could return, and if it did, it would come back in the same breast, I elected to get a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I finished my last radiation treatment on Christmas Eve of 2003 and got on with the business of living!
In February 2011 after getting my annual mammogram I received the dreaded letter that I needed to come back for additional screenings. After the additional screenings were done I was told by the radiation technician that either I had a buildup of scar tissue or my cancer had returned. The only way to determine my diagnosis was to get a biopsy.
The biopsy revealed my cancer had indeed returned. Without hesitation I decided I would have both of my breasts removed. However, making the decision as to whether or not I would once again undergo cancer treatment which would include, chemotherapy, herceptin which would later be followed by taking hormones for a number of years is the HARDEST DECISION I HAVE HAD TO MAKE TO DATE.
After much anxiety, sleepless nights and agonizing about the pros and cons of my decision, I decided I would not consider chemo or herceptin. I was then told to try arimdex (a hormone). I decided I would give that a try and after less than a week, I stopped taking the drug. My joints were so achy from taking this drug I was almost bent over trying to walk. Please remember, this was a personal decision that I MADE FOR MYSELF. I am not in ANY WAY suggesting women that are faced with this decision make the same one I did.
I am very much at peace with my decision and live a very full life and active life. My desire is to reach out and touch as many women as possible.
Ladies please remember, cancer is not a death sentence. Cancer can be the beginning of the BEST THAT YOU CAN BE OR EVEN IMAGINE THAT YOU CAN BE! I AM LIVING BOLDY! I DARE YOU TO LIVE BOLDLY AS WELL!