Vicky is my aunt and here is her story…
Tell us your story / stats:
At age 63, in 2014 I was diagnosed with DCIS. Stage 2. It was caught early, seen in a mammogram but I felt it also. I had the mastectomy done and reconstruction. I felt like I did not want any of that ‘C’ in my body…I wanted it out. At 63 and finally retired…I wanted to enjoy my retirement. So this was coming out and I would move on. Now I am doing well and moving on with life.
What went through your head when you were first diagnosed?
I never thought it would be me. But when I heard that ‘C’ word I just went silent and a thousand questions went through my head at super speed. My first concern, my husband and my family. How bad and how long do I have? I was freaked out! I had a lot of fear and tension was high.
What are some of your personal coping skills during difficult times?
Meditation is my best coping skill. Taking walks and talking and meditating and prayer. God is my strength! My family and friends too.
Tell us about your support system. Or lack of. Where do you get your support from?
My support system in a rural and small town where I live were 5 others who had same type I did. One was younger than me and I was younger than other 4. I was scared. They all survived and gave me books and their own personal experiences on care and options that I, and only I, could decide for myself. My husband Ray was my rock. He studied the Martial Arts and Philosophy and he helped me through a rough year. My daughter Lisa was a savior for me too. My family were all there for me. Having friends and family is the best support. Or even a group of survivors is the best. Support groups work!
What have you learned about yourself since dx?
That all is ok and I will get through this. I will no longer be afraid and I live in a world of plus one. You are what you are…If you think you’re sick then you are. If you think you’re afraid then you are. So I don’t think bad thoughts. I decided that I am fine..I will get through this and go on with life. You have to think positive!
Where are you at in life now? Mentally, physically, emotionally…
I am in a great place now. I will survive. I am at peace. It seems I have heard or met more people with C since I was diagnosed. C is out there in many different kinds and we need to end this horrible disease now!
Do you have any lasting side effects- mental, physical, etc.?
Yes…medications have given me some side effects, neuropathy and nausea. I am done with meds now and the nausea is better but neuropathy is a lasting one and hopefully will dissipate some day. Mentally, fear is there at times but I won’t let it in and just move on.
What are you passionate about? Is this different than what you were passionate about before dx?
In the process of moving closer to a city. I want to help by donating my time to others in need. Maybe with children in hospitals and or the elderly.
Have you noticed any lasting effects on your families and friends?
No…won’t let it.
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, phrase, or curse word?
Life is Short…Live it. I have no fear!
Whenever the day comes to travel to the “great beyond”, what do you hope people remember about you?
I don’t need to hope what they will remember…I see it in them when I’m around them now….lots of laughter! How I was always there for them.
What’s the latest happenings in your life now?
Selling my house and moving on to a new adventure. Living life! I want to volunteer to help others wherever God puts me.