Survivor Stories 2014:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
After being misdiagnosed for 5-months, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer on May 19th, 2011. My cancer did not show up on 2 previous mammograms. Because this is a rare aggressive form of breast cancer it does not always show up on mammograms because it grows in sheets. My breast cancer was found by a biopsy of the breast. I had also previously had a ultrasound and this test did not detect my breast cancer at that time.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
My reaction was overwhelming but numb. All I could do at that time was think of my children. I shed a few tears but quickly wiped them away then asked God to allow me live to be here for my family. My husband, mother and sisters needed me and I would not be going down without a fight because my job was not done here and this great big universe has something for me.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
My diagnosis treatment was 16 cycles of chemotherapy, Bilateral mastectomy with 17 lymph nodes removed, 37 radiation treatments, total hysterectomy and a tram flap reconstruction surgery. I have also had a few more surgeries after since my reconstruction because these surgeries have to sometimes be done in sessions.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
What surprised me the most about my treatments is the side effects to the medicines. The loss of my hair happened quickly. My second treatment my hair was falling out terrible. My daughter had to pick up hair from everywhere. I decided at that time to shave it off. My body experienced numbness in my hands and feet, sleepless nights, black fingernails and my vision was affected as well. I now suffer from lymphedema and panic attacks.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
My advice to a newly diagnosed cancer patient would be to stay calm and to make sure to listen very carefully when the doctors and their bodies are talking to them. Our bodies talk to us and we should never put anything off as being something that can wait. Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. You can live and know that you are important part of this universe.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
I have been cancer free since March of 2012. On August 1st of 2014 I was diagnosed with a recurrence of my original breast cancer. The cancer has returned in the lympnodes in my neck area which is a metastasis and I am now considered a Metastatic breast cancer patient. As of today September 15th 2014 I have done one chemotherapy treatment and am currently waiting my 2nd treatment but due to low white blood cells and platelets I have to wait a few more days and repeat blood work.
7. What lessons have you learned from your experience?
The one lesson I can say that I learned from my experience would be to appreciate everything and everyone. Patience and respect is also a plus. A smile will always take you a extra mile. Happiness is inside you no matter how bad things may seem.
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
The message I will send the Good Enough Mothers would be to live life to the fullest. Never assume you have tomorrow. Life is precious you have to appreciate each and every second. Every one in your life has a purpose. A cancer diagnosis is a hard pill to swallow. I have swallowed and digested my pill and you can to. You were put on this earth to love and live a abundant life, so do it.
My name is Adrian B. McClenney a 44 year old Wife , Mother , Sister and Friend. I am the Author of two books; one named Pink Sunshine – a 31 day Affirmation quote book and bible verse and also Pink Sunshine – a Self Help Workbook. I am also contributor to the book FACES OF INSPIRATION. I am the Founder of Hot Pink High Heel Steel Toe Boots where I educate and advocate about this deadly disease named BREAST CANCER.