I have always had a collection of dogs. At this time I have two small Jack Russell pugs, a pit bull mix, and a chocolate lab. In September 2013 our wonderful, lovely, good and gentle Doberman passed away and I was very upset. I wasn’t getting anything done the way I usually did, like my mammogram. I always go for a screening mammogram during October, my birthday month but I was still too upset and didn’t get around to it until three months later.
That mammogram revealed a fully involved tumor of less than three centimeters that would have grown aggressively. It was stage 1, HER2/neu positive with no lymph node involvement. They tell you it’s cancer and then you’re on a fast-moving train and your journey begins. I had a lumpectomy in February 2014, six rounds of chemotherapy, 30 radiation treatments, and a year of Herceptin treatment. After that was all said and done, I had genetic testing which came back BRCA2 positive. So now this summer I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, and in October I will undergo a bilateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction.
My support system is incredible. My husband was the calm in the middle of the storm. I got emotional at times but he remained even-keeled and said we’re going to make it through this together. My sons were there for whatever I needed. I work as a secretary in the Lebanon School District and everyone I worked with was supportive, including the little elementary school kids.
During my first chemo treatment at Good Samaritan Hospital I learned about the PBCC and ordered my Friends Like Me care package. I read all the books and absorbed all the great information. Then I received an invitation to attend the Conference! I was so humbled to be there with all those brave women, so amazing, continuing on with their jobs and families. My favorite part was the speech and workshop presented by Lillie Shockney from Johns Hopkins. She impressed me the most and I bought her book “Stealing Second Base.” I loved seeing all the vendors too. I’m planning to go again this year with members of my support group from Good Samaritan. I go to support group every month because someone who has shared that experience can understand you best on the good days, and on the bad days.