As you all know our mission this month is to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness and make sure everyone pays attention to this hugely important issue.
There are a lot of hard facts and sad stories out there but it’s also very important to celebrate all the incredible success stories that happen every day – and that’s what we’re doing with our Survivor Stories strand.
Last time around we chatted to Peggy – next up it’s my mom, Anne Syler…
How did you first find out you had cancer?
I had been having mammograms every year. One year there were micro-calcifications that my doctor wanted to take another look at in six months. I had that follow up mammogram, a biopsy and then had to wait three excruciating days before I found out that I had cancer.
How did you react when you heard the news?
I cried. I mean I was supposed to be healthy. I was doing all the things I was supposed to do, eat right, exercise, all the things that they said would prevent cancer and yet here they were telling me I had cancer.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
My cancer was found so early that initially they told me they said they would not have to be so aggressive with the treatment. They offered me the choice of a mastectomy or a lumpectomy. But their data indicated while it was very early, it was also very aggressive. I believe that six-month follow up saved my life.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
Because it’s devastating news, it’s an unknown that you’re going into, you don’t know whether to be sad or glad or what. Then I pieced it together and realized it had to be part of God’s plan for my life. So I prayed for Him to walk with me and I have been a survivor for 12 years now.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
I would encourage them to remember that cancer is now a very treatable disease. They now even understand what is called targeted therapies for certain types of breast cancer. And I would say if you need to talk, I am here to listen.
How long have you been cancer free?
It will be 13 years in February. YAY ME!
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned how truly blessed I was that it was found early and I survived.
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Be kind and understanding of your body, yourself and your soul.
Anne Syler spent many years in the Air Force before retiring a few years ago. Now, the 13-year cancer survivor keeps busy volunteering with Cancer Care Services of Fort Worth and trying to keep up with her daughters and four grandchildren. I would tell you her age but then she would have to kill me!