October is breast cancer awareness month, and through our Stories of Hope: Bras for a Cause Campaign, we are bringing you stories of extremely brave women who have been touched by this disease in some way or another.
Few women who have battled breast cancer carry on with their lives as they did prior to fighting the disease. Often times, survivors find that the illness made them seek a better future. This week we are featuring the story of Marcie, who has found that battling this disease has given her a completely new outlook on life.
Here is her story:
“…”Marcie, you have cancer!”
Sixteen days after my 41st Birthday in 2003, I was presented with this breast cancer diagnosis from my surgeon and one I never wanted to hear. “Okay,” I said. “No, he replied, it is not okay….” Those words will forever be embedded in my mind and soul as life changing!
My story is similar to many: I discovered a 5cm lump in my right breast through self-breast examination and made an appointment with my family doctor who immediately booked an ultrasound appointment. From there, I was sent to a surgeon who ran further tests. When I asked him if I should be concerned, he said, ‘Less than 10%’. I left his office and carried on with my day.
One day later, I was called back to the surgeon’s office to hear of the news that would change my whole life journey.
The medical team moved fast after my diagnosis! I had oncologist appointments, blood work, and many tests. I was scheduled to have surgery two weeks later to have the 5cm lump removed. Tests later revealed that the surgeon was not happy with the margins; hence, two weeks later, I underwent another surgery to have 15 lymph nodes removed from my right Auxiliary (or armpit, as we put it in laymen terms). It was determined that I had Stage 3 aggressive triple negative, estrogen negative breast cancer. Because there was cancer in one of my lymph nodes, my medical team felt it necessary to undergo a treatment plan of 6 months of chemotherapy and 1 month of radiation therapy. I had no family history of breast cancer.
I began my treatment and chose to look at my diagnosis as if I had a job to do. I lost my coveted thick blonde hair and changed my whole diet so as to give my body a fighting chance. My Motto was: “Nothing takes space in my body or mind without paying rent, so CANCER can get out!”
I continued to work and only took time off after treatment to rest. I had a wonderful wig and tried my best to live my life as normal as possible. It was very important to me to not allow cancer to be the centre focus of my life so I didn’t allow it to be. Being positive and stress free was imperative for me to regain my health. I looked at it as if I had a job to do and getting well was my number one focus.
As I look back fifteen years later, not one day goes by that I am not grateful for my life and my health. I am surrounded by the Love of an amazing husband and family. My friends and place of employment, at the time, were truly compassionate. I am sincerely blessed to have had the best support network!
My Mom used to say: “There is never any ill wind that doesn’t blow some good…”
As odd as it may sound, Stage 3 aggressive Breast Cancer changed my life for the better. I look at life through different lenses and never take anything for granted.
I have met many people who have been affected by this chronic illness one way or another and am always touched by the poignant stories I hear.
If you or someone you know has concerns about your breast health, please don’t wait to have your concerns validated. Breast Cancer awareness is real and there is help. 1 out of 8 women are diagnosed each year. It is my hope that one day soon, we can speak of breast cancer as being eradicated. Life is too short and precious to not live your best life!
Thank you to the amazing women from ‘Silver Icing’ for allowing me to share my story. Namaste, La Vie Est Belle…xo”
WISE: Women In Strength Everywhere