Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Anita T. on March 13, 2013
I was Diagnosed with:
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of my right breast, Stage 1, Grade 1, PR/ER +
Date of Diagnosis:
January 10, 2012
Employment Status:
Employed
Gender/Age:
Female/54
Type and Description of Treatments:
Biopsy, 2 lumpectomy's to get clean margins, removal of the sentinal lymph node, 5 weeks of targeted radiation, 1 week of boost radiation directed at scar site. Tried generic Anastrazole for a month, caused severe stomach pains, tried generic Lestrizole for 3 months, caused horrible brain fog and memory issues. Needless to say I am no longer on Aromatase Inhibitors.
How do you feel today?

I feel almost normal. Every morning and evening when I look at my disfigured body it reminds me of (1) how lucky I was that they found the non tumour (no lump just micro calcifications) in my annual mammogram and I decided to go ahead an have it biopsied. (2) That the rest of my life I will be worried about if another tumour will appear somewhere else in my body. And (3) That this is my new normal and to live life as fully as I can.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

At first my energy level was running low. I worked through my entire ordeal, I only missed two and 1/2 weeks total, most of that was the last two weeks of radiation treatment due to exhaustion. I also own a dance studio so I put in time there during the evenings and weekends. My energy levels are pretty much back to where they were before the diagnosis. The biggest change in my life has been my mental state. I look at life with a lot more calm and enjoyment now realizing that my cancer can and probably will come back due to its hormone nature.

What is going well for you right now?

I am working full time still, attending college courses and running my dance studio as well as taking of care of my 5 year old grand daughter that my husband and I have custody of.

What is not going well for you right now?

I have pain in my right chest area still, nothing major just it is there. Drs. say it is due to the radiation as radiated tissue is never the same, and that includes my rib cage.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

At first the tiredness due to the radiation. Dealing with the uncertainty as to when, where and how it might resurface is the worst issue I have now.

When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?

My family has been there for me through this whole ordeal. My husband is a joy and I have to say having a small child to raise has helped me daily.

How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?

I live each day as it comes now. I don't worry about long term goals, like I did before. I enjoy my life.

What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?

I work full time as an IT/Web/Graphic Design Specialist from 8:00 - 5:00 M - F. I also own a dance studio with one of my daughters and I either work the desk or teach there 2 nights a week and on Saturdays.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?

Nothing really.

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Probably the best thing that has helped me to continue working is the fact I am hyper active and the thought of sitting at home doing nothing would drive me crazy.

What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?

Keep a positive attitude is the best advice I can give. Take it one day at a time, if you feel tired, take a rest.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

The pain from the radiation, I just deal with it. The Aromatase Inhibitors I stopped taking, I made a quality of life decision. It might not be the right decision medically, but it was the right decision for me mentally.

If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?

Chill, you will be around to see your newest grand daughters born. Life is good and this is only a bump in the road.