Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Jerri Mae R. on April 30, 2013
I was Diagnosed with:
Stage 3
Date of Diagnosis:
April 10, 2013
Employment Status:
Medical Leave
Type and Description of Treatments:
As I answered the phone on April 10th I heard the voice my surgeon, his voice was very gentle as he told me that the results were not favorable - I’m sorry, it has come back cancerous. I had already prepared myself for the worst and decided that life is a very special gift and I was not going to take any risk with it. On April 15th, I walked into my surgeon's office with my husband by my side for the consultation as the doctor gave us all the medical terms and options. I looked at him and said only one option, and that is a double mastectomy. He looked at me and said I concur, when you would like to proceed? My response was yesterday; he looked a bit perplexed then said does Friday work for you. My husband replied that he couldn't think of anything more pressing on Friday than this. On Friday April 19, I underwent a double mastectomy and removal of lymph nodes on the left side.
How do you feel today?

Today is April 30th, 2013 and I am now 11-days post-op; recovery stage is a bit more than I anticipated; however, I’m getting strong daily and getting ready to meet the oncologist for the Chemotherapy and radiation treatment plan.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

I have made the determination to keep my life as normal as possible. My husband takes me for a walk every day, granted it’s only 1/2 mile around the block instead of our normal power walks on the beach. However, I am out doing what we did together before cancer entered our marriage.

What is going well for you right now?

Life is going well for me. Right now I'm sitting on my back patio in a lounge chair listening to nature and completing this webpage in hopes to lift some other woman's spirits to know all will be well in her soul as well.
Cancer is only a word.
They told us stage 3 and I looked at my husband and said it’s only a number…Don’t get upset about a number. I am a fighter and I will fight this fight and win!

What is not going well for you right now?

I refuse to accept anything not going well. Life is too short to look at the negatives.
If it's a tough day, I find something little to be happy about. I woke up today, I can hear the birds singing outside, I can feel the warmth of the sum, the voice of children playing in the distance. If you truly stop to think about it, we all have many, many thing that are going right. Somedays it might be easier to see them; however, each day we have to take the time to find them. I don't think about tomorrow, so I focus on what's good right now.

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

The word Chemotherapy. It kind of hit me hard, but after several days of prayer, I know have peace with this style of treatment.

What others were telling me to do - go here, go there, see this specialist, etc. Make-up your mind and stick with what you want. It's your body, and only you can make the best decisions.

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

To my bible, and get alone with the Lord.
I don't ask why I am going through this, I just ask God to give me peace as I walk through this season of my life.

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

They have not changed, I still plan to live a long life and love every day to its fullest.

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

I am currently on medical leave, I don't plan to return until after I see how my body responds to chemo treatment.

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

I worked until the day before surgery.

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

Lean on your spouse, family and friends. Don't walk this walk alone.
If you are afraid, it's ok; however, don't let fear rule you life.
Don't let cancer make you a victim, be victorious, kick cancer to the curb.
What has truly blessed my life is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I have complete peace with what has happened thus far and what I will endure in the future with this illness / treatment.
If you have to have chmeo and have long hair (like myself), get a short haircut to start the mindset of what you are going to look like. Don't wait until you may not be feeling good from the chemo and then deal with it. Deal with things while you are stronger, then they are not so overwhelming.

How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?

I have not started treatment yet.

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

It's okay to cry, to get mad, to have fear; however, don't delay what needs to be accomplished by your surgeon. Everyday you postpone your surgery, the cancer grows and the risk increases for it to spread to other areas.
Cancer is only a word and the grade/stage number they provide you after surgery is only a number. It's your mind set that determines if cancer wins or you win! Whether it's stage 0 or 4, it is your mentality and outlook on life that determines how you live life with cancer.