Survivor Stories 2014:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I went in for my mammogram. My doctor called me when they saw my results to tell me they had found breast cancer.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
I went through a roller coaster of emotions: sad, shocked, disappointed, scared – more than anything, I was scared. What came to mind first were my children. My kids are my life and I’m all they have. When I found out, that’s all I thought about. How do I tell them? I didn’t want to scare or upset them, but I knew I had to tell them because we do everything together.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
My care team at Kaiser Permanente was very open and direct with me about what my treatment options were. They also made it clear that, in the end, the decision was mine. I really heard that when they said it. They told me that from what they could see that I would have to have a lumpectomy, and from there would need to do radiation, but that I did not have to do chemo or have a mastectomy. I was thankful for that.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
How fast everything moved. When they called me, they told me, “This is what’s going to happen,” and gave me the next steps. I felt like I had a choice in what treatments I chose to do or not to do, but they were also very clear about what needed to happen right away to have the best outcome. I was also surprised at how well I was able to cope with it. What I learned about myself was that the support system is a grand part of any type of survival, whether it’s cancer or another illness. My family, my friends and my coworkers I had close to me. Having them be there with me and go through it with me, that was really important. I was never alone. Everybody I had around me was supporting me. I don’t think anybody should have to go through that by themselves.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Just think positively. Don’t always think about it as “the end.” People put too much emphasis on the bad part of it and not the survival part of it. Aside from the treatments themselves, positive thinking and energy has a lot to do with how you do, too. It’s so important to stay positive, think about why and how you can get through the treatment, not so much about how you may not get through it. People focus on being sick instead of getting better. You still have a chance to fight.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
Just about two years.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
Cancer – and any kind of crisis – is easier to deal with as long as you take the resources you’re given. If you have a support system, use the resources. If you don’t have your own personal support system, take those flyers for support groups. I just think that if people remember to use the resources that are available to them, combined with family, doctors, treatment, everything – put it all together, it definitely works better than being depressed or giving up.
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
We don’t have to let anything or anybody define us. We should always look within ourselves to make sure we find who we are. By always being what you can be to yourself and to others, you’ll always be good enough.
Constance Jordan is a breast cancer survivor and mother of seven living in Denver, CO. When Constance isn’t working at her job as a business office assistant with Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Complimentary Medicine, she’s spending time with her family, In her free time, Constance’s hobbies include fashion, music, cooking, and visiting her son in New York.