Survivor Stories 2013:
How did you first find out you had cancer?
I was actually told for six months that I did not have cancer. Cancer didn’t glow, cancer didn’t hurt, no family history of breast cancer, and I was young–36–and healthy. Well, cancer did hurt and it did glow and by the time I insisted on a biopsy, I was so sore on my right breast and under my arm with swollen nodes that it hurt to wear a bra. I was on my second round of antibiotics and I was just out of my first trimester of pregnancy with my fifth child. They did my biopsy on a Wednesday in October 2009. I came home from the hospital the very next day and at 7 PM, my surgeon called and his exact words were, “Cristy, I don’t know how to tell you this, but your biopsy came back malignant.”
How did you react when you heard the news?
I really knew in my heart that it was going to be cancer, but I don’t think you can really prepare yourself to hear the words,”it’s cancer.” I was home by myself and I immediately called my husband who rushed home and also called my dad so he could come over. We all three cried. I kept telling my dad that I wasn’t ready to die, I wasn’t ready to leave my kids. My family needed me. I was so scared. After watching my mother die within six months of her cancer diagnosis when she was only 39 and I was only 21, cancer was my biggest fear. I handed it all over to God and told myself the fight for my life was on and as my husband nicknamed me “Warrior Chick,” that’s what I was going to be.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
A week after my diagnosis, I had a double mastectomy. Two weeks after surgery, I started A/C chemo and did five rounds. I had an emergency c-section in January 2010 and our daughter Taige was born 6 1/2 weeks early–beautiful and healthy! I then started weekly Taxol chemo, and six weeks of daily radiation.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
How fast it all seemed to go by. And when I finished my treatments, learning to live the “new normal” has been really a challenge.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
The journey is not easy, but there are so many blessings along the way. You are a Warrior Chick and you will win the battle. Stay positive, stay strong, and keep your faith.
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
How long have you been cancer free?
Today, October 17, I celebrate my fourth “cancerversary.”
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
That I am way stronger than I ever imagined I was!
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Cherish every second with your children. Ice cream for breakfast is okay every now and then. Laugh a lot! We are not promised tomorrows–live each day to its fullest! Always have faith that God will guide you through and remember to believe in miracles because they do happen. Always kiss your children good night and love them to the moon and back. You are a beautiful, strong, amazing, Warrior Chick!
I’m Cristy and I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast cancer in October 2009 at the age of 36, while pregnant with my 5th child. I was in great shape, active, great health, young, breast cancer didn’t run in my family. All i could think about was my 4 beautiful children that needed me, the precious life inside me and my husband that I loved so much. It’s not easy, I still have lots of bad down days when my mind races with hundreds of emotions, or my body aches from side effects, my chemo brain is a constant issue…BUT I have a beautiful family and I’m here to take care of them all and to help others! What a precious, gracious gift I feel God has given me! I hope to touch others and help them along their cancer journey..I hope to continue to be a good solid strong example to my children and I look forward to growing old with my soul-mate and all the memories we will make with our children!