When you receive a cancer diagnosis the second time, you quickly realize just how precious life is. Almost 4 1/2 years after my first diagnosis, I received the devastating phone call in mid-august that my post-cancer checkup looked suspicious and might indicate a return of breast cancer. The PET scan confirmed my worst fears; I had metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in my bones. I wasn’t sure what to think, and my mind was running a million miles a minute “How do I cure this? What are my next steps? Should I have a bone marrow transplant?” But I knew either I could feel sorry for myself or I could take charge. And I chose latter. So, without losing hope, I decided quickly to educate myself, ask a lot of questions and build a plan I could act on. I wanted to find a treatment center that could provide me access to the latest treatments and medical trials for my disease.
After extensive research, I chose Virginia Cancer Specialists, based on the accessibility to their several clinical trials. From day one, my experience was remarkable. “They truly are a center of excellence, and I have been thoroughly satisfied and confident that VCS is giving me the best possible treatment for my disease.
My journey has been tough, but over time I have developed a strategy to truly be happy and enjoy life with my husband, four beautiful children, and all the wonderful events that are a part of daily living. I have changed my outlook, both mental and physical towards life. Mentally, I have accepted my new reality, “That cancer now lives with ME, whereas, in the early days, I lived with it. Physically, losing my hair was upsetting, and I was not ready for it. But because of my outlook on life, I haven’t let the hair loss get in my way of defeating cancer. In fact, I chose to go bald with the hope to inspire and perhaps give strength and courage to someone who now has to face chemotherapy.
I’m now ready to keep fighting and educate people about metastatic cancer to drive awareness and raise funds for more research. I don’t know what is in store for me, but I no longer fear death. I have learned that life is truly a gift and that I cannot dictate where it will take me but it is up to me to seize every opportunity, to derive pleasure in the smallest of things, and to never take good health for granted.