A Survivor's Story - Frances
Q: LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY WITH BREAST CANCER.
A: “I was diagnosed Christmas Eve of 2003. When I lost my mother to breast cancer the year prior, I was told I needed to have a mammogram when I turned 40. I went for my first mamo and was told I had a lump. Turned out I was stage 2A. I had a lumpectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy and then 6 weeks of radiation
I lost my mother as well as her first cousin to breast cancer. I lost both grandmothers to cancer. And now my sister has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Q: WHAT KIND OF FEELINGS OR EMOTIONS DID YOU EXPERIENCE WHEN YOU WERE FIRST DIAGNOSED?
A: “Because I had lost my mother to this horrible disease the previous year, I was terrified. I had gone alone to the biopsy and remember sitting in my vehicle in the parking lot calling my sister and crying my eyes out. I could not be the one to tell my dad because he had lost his soul mate/life partner the previous year. Being a daddy’s girl, I knew it would devastate him. Thankfully, my sister offered to tell him, so I let her. When treatment began, everything moved so quickly I didn’t even have time to think about it, which was a good thing. I didn’t have time to dwell on it.”
Q: WHO OR WHAT MADE THE MOST IMPACT IN HELPING TO NAVIGATE SUCH A DIFFICULT EXPERIENCE?
A: “I was living in Indianapolis at the time and did not have any family in the area. My work manager and I had both lost our mother’s to cancer at the same time, and her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer the same time I was. She was available to speak with me at any time and was very supportive. She definitely helped me keep things in perspective and helped me through the process.”
Q: WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO PROVIDE TO WOMEN READING THIS TODAY?
A: “I would encourage all women to please get their mammograms on a regular basis! I try to live my life with no regrets and to not stress about things out of my control. Life is short! I have now been cancer free for 16 years so please understand the cancer diagnosis does not mean life is over.”
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