As I sit at my desk, Googling information to include in our spotlight campaign about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am struck by the truth of my present environment. I am surrounded by women. Strong, talented, independent, hard working women, all of them boss babes, and all at all different stages of life.
The fact is that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in her lifetime. That means of the 40 women currently working under this roof, 5 of us will likely develop some form of Breast Cancer at some point in our life.
This sobering fact only further validates the reason why the team at Silver Icing recognizes the need to use our platform to inspire hope and offer support to the brave women who came before us and for those who will after us.
For the entire month of October, every Monday we will feature a story about a real woman who has been touched by this disease in some way. This week, we are featuring Linda’s story. She is an extremely strong and brave woman who has put up one hell of a fight against this disease.
Here is her story:
“While women are encouraged to get regular screenings and perform self-examinations for breast cancer, I say it’s not enough. Two mammograms and an ultrasound didn’t detect my stage 3 cancer at age 39, which resulted in a double mastectomy in 2008.
You just don’t know, people just assume that ultrasounds and mammograms can detect it all, and they don’t always.
I got my first mammogram in 2007 after being urged by my mom, who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. When I returned to get another one in May 2008, doctors had detected a calcification in my left breast that had tripled in size since my mammogram in 2007. I then was ordered to have an ultrasound that same month, which also showed a two-inch mass in my right breast. My doctor referred me to a specialist who performed a biopsy of my left breast. While doing the biopsy, the doctor noticed some “abnormal” tissue and took a sample of that as well.
I got the call from the Doctor and drove myself out to his office. Not only did I now have breast cancer, but it was stage 3, the second highest level. I was devastated & scared. I never ever thought I would hear those words. All I kept thinking of was that I was a single mom of a 12 year old boy… I couldn’t die and leave him behind, I didn’t want him to see me go through this.
I left his office in a daze, completely numb from the news. I sat in the parking lot of the Doctor’s office in my truck and broke down. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t function or think. I called a close friend to come and get me, and proceeded to call my family between panic attacks to inform them of the news. I had a good ole pity party for about 2 weeks, I didn’t do much, I cried, yelled at the sky… I just didn’t function. Then I woke up one day and realized in order to survive, I had to fight. I had to kick cancers ass. I had to win, stay positive and be strong.
I opted for a double bilateral mastectomy on June 20th, 2008 and endured 5 months of chemotherapy to ensure the disease wouldn’t return. I lost all of my hair, which flowed past my waist, which was completely devastating. I put on a brave face, but I couldn’t stop the tears.
I finished my last chemotherapy December 16th, 2008 and started a 5 ½-year treatment plan of tamoxifen. It was one of the happiest days of my life finishing the chemotherapy. I knew I would eventually get stronger, body and mind once the toxic chemicals left my body but if it weren’t for the continued support of my family and friends that helped me through the depression, the bad days etc… I honestly don’t think I’d be here today.
Within one year of reconstructive surgery in April of 2009, my implants began concaving in my chest as they had taken so much breast tissue. Fat injections helped but were short lived. With the help of an amazing doctor, I eventually had my implants re-done. I’ll always have scars, the implants look way better and have not sunk in my chest. I now feel and look like myself again. I feel confident in myself and well….. I’m alive and that truly is the only thing that matters.
You all must remember one thing………..LIVE FOR TODAY———JOURNEY ON”.
The Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Futures Fund makes a commitment to improve the quality of life of women living with breast cancer, while helping to create a future without breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, in an effort to support this cause, we will be donating $10 from every Arabesque Bra sold throughout the month to the Canadian Cancer Society Breast Cancer Futures Fund.