Donna's Cancer Story

I am a 52-year-old survivor of cervical cancer, breast cancer invasive Ductal Carcinoma with necrosis HER2+ and 38 lymph nodes removed with chronic lymphedema as a result. I have been fighting this horrible disease for over 5 years now.

Cervical cancer was diagnosed in 2013 and was treated with a hysterectomy and the cancer was gone.

Breast cancer was diagnosed July 2015, treatment started 5 days after diagnosis, December 22nd 2015 I had a double radical mastectomy, 33 radiation treatments started after healing from surgery in 2016.

Living with what cancer has left me with has been the hardest thing I have EVER done. A lot of people go through this fight against cancer and they never have it come back, and then there are people who have to worry about it all day every day coming back, and then there are people who will never be completely free of cancer. Not everyone's journey is exactly the same but we all have one thing that connects us and that is cancer.

We all fight this horrible disease to live. My journey has taught me so many things and I love to help others starting their journey, in the middle of their journey, or after their treatments are finished and their life is getting back to some sort of normalcy.

I had to learn about my cancer, options for treatments, medications, the percentage of survival, etc myself. I can not say it enough, but ASK QUESTIONS!!!! It is your life. Research, ask, google, ask, inquire, ask etc etc etc. Don't be scared to ask or question your doctor's. They are not God. They make mistakes too. I am not an expert by any means, but I researched, educated myself, asked questions etc.

I presently live with chronic lymphedema because of the 38 lymph nodes removed. I had to educate myself about that. Living with what cancer has left me with has definitely been the hardest thing I have ever done. Everything that makes you a woman outwardly to the public has been taken away. That was so very hard for me. I have always made sure my make up is on point, my hair was always fixed up, my outfits were always up to date and stylish before cancer.

After cancer it was hard to just get up every day, much less putting makeup on, fixing my hair, dressing up. My vanity went straight out the window. I continue my journey with my head held high and moving forward. I volunteer with ACS and other organizations to give back and help whenever and wherever I can to help others.

All I want to do is make a difference in this world. I am thankful and blessed and I am here to help. I look forward to reading others stories.

 

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