So, on January 5, 2010 I had elective surgery to remove the lump. Then I received that dreaded call…the one from the Dr. saying, “this is the worst mistake, I’ve ever made. The lump was malignant and we need to go back in and remove the lymph nodes to ensure it hasn’t spread.” The next week, I was under the knife once again and found myself thrown into a new world I had no experience with at all. The dreaded word I had feared all my life—with every routine mammogram, ultrasound and mammogram. CANCER!
I immediately experienced a depression I had never known—stopped eating and lost a tremendous amount of weight. At 4’10” and 94lbs my entire life –I didn’t have much to lose. But my weight steadily declined along with my strength and that was tough. It was even tougher because my life needed to remain ‘business as usual’-- I didn’t want my clients or employees to know I was undergoing treatment –I didn’t want them to know I had cancer-- as I was certain they wouldn’t understand and I believed they would think I couldn’t get the job done. So, I continued working and traveling at the same pace.
Passing out at a client appointment and a day in the ER at M.D. Anderson was absolutely the tipping point. It served as my wake-up call. Changes needed to be made. And needed to be made fast. I was dying. Literally. My weight was down to 78 lbs and I had no strength to move. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a ghost—a ghost that was so boney and dried out-- I was embarrassed. Immediate action needed to be taken.
In addition to stopping the SERM treatment (with my doctor’s approval), I knew the best way to get out of the funk was to stay focused on the future, my wonderful children, my career and to improve my diet. I worked my way through it and just started eating well. Food was important—I ate a lot to get my strength back up. I had juice daily and filled up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Today, 3 years later I am finally back to myself-- I’m healthy, feel great and I no longer suffer from depression. I have time to relax. Once or twice a year I go to a yoga retreat, sit quietly and contemplate life. The diagnosis has made me think maybe there is something else I need to do in life.I am now 55 years old and my journey thank goodness has a wonderful ending—or beginning I should say-- as I met my husband in the hospital and he asked me to marry him during treatment –UNBELIEVABLE!