Survivor Stories 2013:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I have been followed very closely due to family history. During my yearly exam I discussed changes with my doctor. My surgeon found my thyroid cancer when he did my surgery. Having breast cancer was really a blessing in disguise.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
The villain was cancer: my arch nemesis. I was the triple threat. The trifecta of cancer. First I thought “why me?” then I knew that I could build a net of friends who would travel my journey with me. I was lucky that it was at a very early stage and the doctors I trusted knew that together we could beat it. I leapt into action. As my friend Alan says, I was the David to its Goliath.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I had other cancers and for me radiation and surgery were the options that worked for me. I used Atack because the cancer was gone but we wanted to prevent it. The ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination) trial was an international randomised controlled trial of 9366 women with localized breast cancer who received either anastrozole, tamoxifen, or both for five years.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
The friends I made. I am passionate about finding a cure to cancer and fundraise to help make that happen. The friends I have made are like family to me.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
First believe in the power of Hope. Surround yourself with people who will help you and look for answers. Keep busy doing what you love. I would tunnel my energy into crafts and planning trips. I would think about ADR’s and parade times. I would listen to music you hear in the park. Arm yourself with an arsenal of books and things that make you happy.
My bags were packed and I was ready to go on a moments notice. In my mind it was really helpful to know I had better places to go. I give that advise to others. Also little things like chew gum during chemo and use plastic table wear if you get a tin taste in your mouth.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
Over 5 ½ years.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
Cancer is like being in a dark room filled with snakes. You have to destroy the snakes one by one starting with the one that is closest to you until you find the door. Finding what you love and a reason to fight is what will turn the lights on and make it easier to get to the door.
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
I am here for YOU. Just give a little whistle.
I am a true girly-girl surrounded by my family of boys. I’m passionate about finding a cure for cancer, and I fundraise to help make that possible. I volunteer at Give Kids the World and run a non-profit. I’m a Disney aficionado that annually holds a Disney Premier Passport. I love crossing things off of my bucket list.