Linda: Breast Cancer to Skydiving!
In February of the year of my 50th birthday, I found a lump. Having no family history of cancer, I was not overly concerned. I contacted my doctor and was told to come in for a mammogram. I had a history of annual mammograms, as I know their importance. The mammogram showed something unusual, so a sonogram was ordered. Was I ever relieved to hear “Let’s just watch it and see what happens.” Well, we did and nothing changed. It made sense to me, so I put it on my calendar for a year follow-up and continued to do my self-exams. Then, in November, my 27-year marriage came to a painful and abrupt end. So, who had time to worry about a lump that was not changing, as other things needed to be handled. In March of the following year, I decided to have a second opinion. In days, I was in the hospital, with the diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer. Wow, what an awakening. My treatment included a mastectomy, eight chemo sessions, and 30 days of radiation. I will never forget my first visit to my oncologist when he said, “This does not have to be a death sentence.” I replied, “I never expected it would be.” I tell people I was blessed for this to have happened to me, and they are stunned. To me, this was a bump in the road, a test of my attitude and perseverance, and I won! To celebrate, after all treatments were done, I went skydiving! Now, that is a first for me. My reason: I had survived a major illness, and I did not want that to be the most thrilling thing I did!