Survivor Stories 2013:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I have an interesting story, my 15 pound dog found my cancer. I had just had my yearly exam with my ob/gyn and he performed a breast exam and gave me the all clear. On the way out the door I was handed my prescriptions for a mammo and an ultra sound. Before I even got to those appointments my dog alerted me to a lump in my breast. I was lying down on the couch and my little white dog climbed up on me and started pawing at my breast. It was enough for me to take notice and feel around. That’s when I found the small round lump in the upper left hand side of my breast. I followed up with the mammogram, which did not pick up my tumor. Only the ultra sound was able to detect it.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I was totally shocked when I found out! I was the healthiest person I knew. I was a Certified Health Coach. I was the person people came to in order to get healthy. How could I have cancer? I ate healthy for the past 20 years, I did yoga, meditated, ran half marathons and grew my own food…how could this happen to me?
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I had a lumpectomy. I was also prescribed chemotherapy, but decided to do an alternative version of chemo and opted for a low dose form. I completed 33 radiation treatments. I also incorporated dietary changes and included many breast cancer fighting foods I could on a daily basis.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
I was surprised about how great I felt during my treatments. I was determined to feel healthy during my time with cancer and I surprised myself that I was able to accomplish that.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
It’s so important to stay positive no matter what. For me taking control of my treatment helped me feel empowered and positive about what was going on during the cancer circus. Plain and simple, cancer sucks but how you let it affect you is up to you. Sounds silly, but it’s true.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
Just about 4 years.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
That I am strong and that my husband and 3 kids are my rock! They help me on a daily basis remember that here and now is the most important thing. My kids remind me all the time to have fun and not to sweat the small things like the sand on the kitchen floor!
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Simple…we are enough! If there was ever a time to have self-care in your life this is it! Reach out to family and friends to help out with the kids. Have people help you so you can rest and let your body heal from treatment. It is important to take care of yourself now so that you are around to take care of the kids later.
I am a Certified Health Coach and author of the book, “The Healthy Girl’s Guide to Breast Cancer.” The book is part memoir and part guide revealing the all-too true story of cancer in this country with a healthy twist.
I left my life as an account supervisor for an advertising agency, working on a major fast food account to be a full-time wife and mom. As my children got older, I pursued my passion for health and nutrition by attending The New York School for Massage Therapy and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
While I was at IIN I was trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods which prepared me for the un-thinkable.
While starting a private nutrition practice and serving as the director of a local food movement organization; I discovered I had breast cancer. Determined to stay healthy, I studied and researched traditional and alternative treatments and blogged about my cancer journey. I remained healthy during all my treatments and even ran a half marathon just after completing radiation.
I continue to live with a healthy glow, boundless energy, a positive attitude, and best of all cancer free with my husband, my three kids, and Zoe the cancer sniffing dog in Bayport, New York.