Valentine’s Day 2002. It was a chilly, blustery day with rain spitting on and off. David and I were sitting in a coffee shop killing time before my appointment with the doctor. Shortly we would hear the results of the tests. Would I indeed have breast cancer? I was afraid but hopeful. I had no idea what was in store, definitely a good thing. If I’d known, that fear would have been terror. Then we heard the words “advanced Stage 3B breast cancer.” In an instant, my life, our life, was changed forever in more ways than we could have imagined. It was the beginning of an unforgettable journey.
The protocol was chemo first, then a mastectomy, then more chemo if necessary and then radiation. When I finally had my mastectomy, I was in jail and it was much worse than I’d imagined. There was no one to hold my hand, comfort me, or even pray with me. The surgeon gave me a 60% chance to live five years. They thought I might die in prison.
That was nine years ago. Yes, NINE YEARS. I have survived. I have survived breast cancer and the sheriff’s jail and 6.9 years in prison. It was an awful, horrible nightmare. It was also the journey I was meant to take and it gave me the purpose I live today. I am blessed. We are blessed.
Today David and I shared a picnic at Tempe Town Lake in the warm February sun. It was very simple and we toasted with water. It was also wonderful. We are alive, we are together. We have GINA’s Team in our lives and wonderful friends. My book about this journey, The Slumber Party from Hell, is touching many hearts. I live in gratitude. We are celebrating more than Valentine’s Day. We are celebrating LIFE.
What’s your survival story? Everyone has one.