The Breastlink Angels 2014 calendar featured many inspiring breast cancer patient stories. Jill’s story with invasive ductal carcinoma was presented in the October chapter.
I am a Breast Cancer Survivor | Jill C.
- Diagnosis – October 2009.
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
I am a breast cancer survivor. The day, six days before my 43rd birthday started out like any other day, but quickly turned into one of “those” days that you never forget. My OBGyn found a lump in my left breast.
She said it did not feel like cancer to her. I remember thinking that I could not possibly have cancer. I had three children who needed their mom. I could not possibly endure MRIs, PET scans much less chemo or surgery. I didn’t even like to go to the dentist.
Two days later, I was told I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The tumor was relatively small, but very aggressive. I spent my 43rd birthday meeting my Oncologist, Dr. John Link, for the ﬁrst time.
Sometimes in life there are ﬂeeting moments that pass you by before you really know what happened, and you later realize that you are lucky to have survived. But surviving cancer is not so mercifully swift.
My treatment started with eight rounds of chemo. Fourteen days after my ﬁrst chemo, my closest friend shaved my head as my two daughters watched. Chemo was grueling, but very necessary. It saved my life. I had a complete pathological response to the chemotherapy. By the time I had my lumpectomy, there was no lump, no cancer cells!!! I then had 33 rounds of radiation.
Dr. Link said to me “now go live your life. You will live to be an old lady.” I can honestly say, “old” never sounded so good!!!!!
I wear something every single day that is a reminder of my battle with breast cancer. It may be a pink bracelet, a ribbon charm or a saint medallion. It is a reminder to me that the will to survive is the most powerful of all emotions and that I am a proud survivor. That is the funny thing about women who have had breast cancer.
There are a million attitudes about it, both positive and negative. Some women pretend it never existed, as if that acknowledgement takes away its power. I am personally proud I dealt with it and came through the other side relatively unscathed. I think that is a huge accomplishment.
I have gotten past the “why me” and “this isn’t fair”. I have told my kids, everyone has a struggle in their life, and this is what God chose for me. I now realize that I am so much stronger than I thought I was, and I can do so much more than I ever knew.
I am lucky to have an incredible support system. My husband, children, friends and parents have been with me every step of the way. Sometimes they just held my hand, sometimes they pushed me to do things I did not believe I could do.
I have chosen to be a Volunteer Patient Representative at Breastlink. I sit with women who have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I sit with women in the infusion room. I want them to see that the hair does grow back, the smile returns to your face, and although there is a new “normal”, life will be normal again.
I think one of the biggest ways to overcome any trial in life, to heal from any kind of experience is by helping those around you. By lifting those around you, you end up lifting yourself as well.