How did you first find out you had cancer?
In August of 2009, my husband came home from work one evening, came up behind me by surprised and squeezed me which created an excruciating pain in my breast. I was due soon for my mammogram, decided to go early to check things out. When I went for the mammogram they also wanted to conduct an ultrasound. It confirmed I had breast cancer.
How did you react when you heard the news?
I was speechless, numb, shocked, in disbelief and I cried as no one in my family has ever had cancer. Then I proceeded to find a way to get healed.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I was given a diagnosis for a lumpectomy and felt uncomfortable with the diagnosis and went for second opinion. The 2nd opinion was done at Cancer Treatement Centers of America where they suggested a MRI which showed cancer over my entire breast and not what was originally told to me. I was in stage 3 and underwent a left breast mastectomy, aggressive chemotherapy treatment every 3 weeks for 6 months at 6 hours a treatment; underwent herceptin treatment for 1 years and then radiation everyday for 7 wks. Post treatment began with Tomoxifen which was switched to Arimidex.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
The lack of energy, mobility I experienced.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Cry and get it out of the way! Be proactive about your own health; get a 2nd opinion and a 3rd if your spirit is not in agreement; cling to your ultimate healer; Surround yourself with positive people and laugh as often as you can.
How long have you been cancer free?
I have been breast cancer free for 3 years and in the last couple of weeks found out I have skin cancer and undergoing radiation treatment for it. However, I AM STILL A SURVIVOR!
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
Enjoy life, prioritize what is important, stay focused, cut out negativity and unproductive people in my life. It is ok to take time for self.
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
There is hope, stay encouraged and you are important so take control of the decisions for your life.
Denise and her husband are newly married and we just purchased a home when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 at the age of 49. One month after her diagnosis, her husband was laid off from his job and two months after my mastectomy surgery. Denise was laid off from her job as well. After a year, Denise’s medical insurance quadrupled in premium and within 6 months it doubled from that. Yet, Denise kept the faith and trusted the Lord would bring them through this journey. Therapy for Denise during this time in her life has opened her eyes to owning her own business. She studied to obtain her travel degree and opened her own travel agency, Denise’s Travel Agency. Denise has also written a about her journey, Denise’s Journey, My Cancer Survival Road, Through it All. Because of this life changing experience, she felt compelled to assist and support others who are facing the same or similar situation and began a breast cancer survivor’s foundation. Denise and her husband also volunteer for free food street ministry to feed the hungry.
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