Thursday, October 13, 2016

Breast Cancer Walk

I'm flying down to Atlanta tomorrow to participate in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer.  I'm walking with, and in honor of, my dear friend, Candace.  She just finished up her last radiation treatment and I couldn't be more proud of her and the way she has handled this horrible disease with courage and grace.

the ladies I'm walking with (Candace is right beside me)

I want to share her story with you in the hopes that it might help just one person...

In December of 2015, I got quite a shock. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I've had many people ask me how it was discovered, so I thought I would share my story if it could possibly make a difference for even one woman.

I did feel something, but it was not the typical lump that you would think of. From things I had read and heard, it felt like fibroid tissue so I didn't really do much. Then a week or so later, I started to have shooting pains in my breast. I tried to stay off the internet, but eventually I did start to look things up. And much to my relief, I was finding that breast pain isn't usually associated with breast cancer. But fortunately it bothered me enough that I went ahead and called the doctor to schedule a mammogram. I had to have a physical exam first though to get the mammogram referral. The dr. was not my regular doctor. My doctor was out on personal leave, but I needed to be eased so I chose not to wait. I went in for my appt feeling stressed and fearful and after a very SHORT exam, the doctor tried to ease my worries, and said to me, "Don't worry. You don't have cancer." Now this is where I want everyone to take note. I could have easily skipped the mammogram at this point after hearing FROM THE DOCTOR THAT I DON'T HAVE CANCER. But THANKFULLY I went ahead and had the mammogram. And the rest is history.

I was called in several more times, and on December 23rd, the day before our first Christmas celebration, sitting in a shopping center parking lot, my breast surgeon called me at 6:30 that evening to let me know it was cancer. The lump they discovered was in fairly deep tissue and was not noticeable by a physical exam. And I was told that the pain I was experiencing had nothing to do with it. So I don't know why or what, but I decided that the pain was a divine intervention to get me to go have a mammogram. So if I can give any advice through all of this, I would say Just go. Don't ignore. Even if it's scary. Even if you think it's probably nothing. I can't imagine what would have been my news or fate had I waited.
So it's definitely been a journey. I had a lumpectomy in February, 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiation. My last radiation treatment is next week. It wasn't always easy, but overall I felt blessed that my body seemed to handle everything fairly well. I even continued to work and go about our life as much as I was able to. I am so appreciative for that and for all of the support along the way. From Jeff and the kids' unconditional love, to my parents coming up for every round of chemo, for my extended family regularly sending me texts and cards, to Facebook friends constantly sending me love and support through my posts, and to my friends and neighbors that fed and cared for us for several months. I'm indebted to you all.
Back in March, a few of my closest friends told me they would do this 2 day walk with me. At the time, I did not know that I would be doing chemo. And I also didn't know that I wouldn't finish things up until less than 2 weeks before the event. But I decided to still try and go through with it. It's something that I've actually wanted to do for years. Except now we would be walking for me. 
So I thank you in advance for any support you can give me and my team to participate in this walk. I feel that it will be the best way to wrap this year up and look to the future with hope and love for myself and many other women.

I met Candace through a group of women that I've mentioned many times here on the blog.  We named our group of girlfriends "Baby Club" and that name has stuck all these years.  So naturally we named our walking team, Booby Club!  I hate asking for money, and I've certainly never done anything like that on the blog, but if anyone wants to support our team here is the link.  We haven't met our goal quite yet but I have confidence we will!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to those that have already supported us!  

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