25 years. That is how long I have been living with cancer. 25 years. I am not cured.
In January 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer that invaded my lymph system. I underwent surgeries, chemo, a stem cell replacement, and radiation. I had just earned my master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. My daughter was getting married. My son was becoming a father. I had things to do. But I had cancer and all my plans changed.
Cancer touches every part of a person’s life. Every part. And while all my plans changed – the world carried on. Friends still went to work. The mailman still made his rounds. Schools continued. And I wasn’t allowed to get my dream job after 6 years of study. My life was now commanded by cancer. My family was awesome and took great care of me. My friends, my church, and even strangers prayed and helped as they could. Support systems make such a difference. There was not a place like Yellow Brick Place when I was diagnosed with cancer. YBP makes a difference in the support needed for non-medical needs.
I cannot be cured because the cancer had so aggressively attacked my lymph system, but I surpassed my 7-year expected life span. I’ve taken my medicine every day for 25 years. I see my oncologist twice a year. I am very blessed that my cancer has not actively recurred. I am very thankful I still have a medical and non-medical support system.
I am very thankful to be a part of Yellow Brick Place Cancer Wellness Center. YBP offers me support that one not having experienced cancer can understand. And I volunteer there so others going through cancer can be surrounded with caring and understanding and a special strength needed at a time none of us want to experience. So, here’s to 25 years! I thank God for my health! I’m still going strong.