Living and Learning

Surviving cancer is one of the greatest challenges a person can face in her life.  Each person handles the obstacles that come along with it differently. For one woman and mother, it was a wake-up call that helped her to become diligent about taking care of not only her family, but herself, as well.

By Carol Chatellier




I never thought I would be a breast cancer patient.

I was a mom, a wife; I was very busy. But I ignored my annual mammograms.

There was no history of breast cancer in my family, but after reading an article in Good Housekeeping Magazine about the warning signs of ovarian cancer (which I had  5 or 6 of the symptoms) I finally went to my ob/gyn who seemed to just blow it off by simply saying, "OK. Lets have a look."

My life went into a spiral after that, which I still can't even believe to this day. I had a total hysterectomy on Aug. 2 for the removal of a 10-pound growth on my right ovary, which ended up being benign. I gave a big sigh of relief and was prepared to move on with my life. While I was in the hospital, they recommended I have a mammogram since I hadn't had one in two years due to my busy schedule. Low and behold, I was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks later at 12:36 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2005.

The funniest thing was, I had read on different "hyster sister " websites was that you had six to nine months recuperation time for a hysterectomy and I was prepared to accept not feeling great for that length of time. But in the blink of an eye I didn’t have that option anymore – I was headed for chemo, hair loss, and what I felt was going to be total devastation.
I had a hard time swallowing this pill I had been given. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I did it – I had no other choice.  My baldness was awkward, especially for my daughters, but they were great during everything. I still fulfilled my "mom" duties, even if I was exhausted. Their friends were so accepting of what was going on in our lives, as well. They were helpful and caring and it was so greatly appreciated.
I hope I taught my daughters how to accept what life throws at  them. How to just go with it and keep on living your life no matter what happens. I’m hopeful that they are now empowered from watching me go from day to day. We are happy and we love each other. You cant ask for more than that from life. I’m just so sorry that they will forever have to check the "yes" column when it says, "Is there a history of breast cancer in your family?"
I am now a 6-year survivor and the greatest part is that I can be here for them to watch them grow. I appreciate every cancer-free day.  It is like waking up to a gift every morning.

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