"The greatest gift when battling breast cancer... is having God as your coach."
I can still hear those words softly echoing in my heart every three months as I routinely administer a self breast examination. I remember my best friends' mother recanting that very same phrase as she struggled through chemo, radiation and a partial mastectomy as a result of her diagnosis with Stage III breast cancer.
When Faced With Battling Stage III Breast Cancer There Are Few Choices
I was just 23 years old when my best friends' mother discovered she had breast cancer. It was hard to watch the woman I called my other mother suffer but I would do my best to lift her spirits through jokes and laugher! Of course that only worked when she wasn't in pain, vomiting or fighting to cover her body out of her own disgust in missing a breast. Physically and mentally the toll breast cancer took on her was unbearable to even image.
But everyday she would still manage to muster up just enough strength to fight back. And each day she did I watch her take back a little more of what that breast cancer had robbed her of using the strength provided by her coach. Her struggles where difficult to witness but they gave me hope! More importantly it was a reality check that showed me how minute my physicals problems truly were. That was over 16 years ago and I'm proud to say my other mother is a strong healthy cancer survivor. I was especially thrilled when she agreed to share some breast cancer survival advice and asked me to pass it on.
"Life doesn't end after the biopsy results; it begins when you decide to fight back"
The day my other mother received her breast cancer biopsy results my best friend and I was there to offer her moral support. But when the Doctor said Third Stage breast cancer the look on her face reflected sheer anger instead of what we all expected. It was like rage had a face and it was staring feverishly at the doctor. She certainly didn't need moral support from us; it was more like we were there to protect the doctor. Physicians called her reaction denial. But she called it the will to fight back. And, the menacing display of anger was from being vexed at what she had to go through to beat breast cancer. My other mother still says to this day it was her sudden desire to live that comforted her through breast cancer and the darkest times of her life.
"Never give into the cure if you plan to recover from cancer successfully"
My other mother would always say, "If the cancer doesn't kill me the cure sure will". I use to laugh at her when she would say that mostly because I didn't understand what she meant. But after a while I begin to understand as it became obvious to me in order to treat an aggressive killer such as cancer you have to have even more aggressive treatment. Now if you know anyone who is battling breast cancer treatment then you also know how low a cancer patient can sink into the abyss of her condition. Depression and self pity are the notorious killers of any hope of a successful recovery if you let it take you there! And radiation and chemo therapy is an expressway to giving up. But I could hear my other mother cursing the cancer treatment and rebuking the fatigue, lost of an appetite, weight and frequent vomiting and diarrhea episodes she would encounter. She never gave into the solemn days she had in front of her and because of that she was able to overcome the cure and the cancer.
"Everything that Breast Cancer takes away from you; you get back ten fold"
Certainly having breast cancer or any type of cancer is no laughing matter. Most often the cancer once treated won't leave quietly and will take a few things from you in the process. Just remember the strength you lose in the battle is replenished with more vigor. You now have the selection of thousands wigs to stylishly sport while your hair grows back. The breast that was sacrificed only leaves room for new ones in whatever size you like.
The appetite you lost will be restored. Only this time it will be on much healthier terms. The weight will come back except now you have a new found appreciation for exercise and healthy living, which means if you fight back hard with exercise you'll end up with a coke bottle shape. And the will to live you thought you would never regain will return stronger and more effervescent that ever before. These are promises from a breast cancer survivor of 15 years to a current breast cancer patient.
"Never give up... Never give in...Just get over and get on with life"