I SERIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS
That is what I told my friend the day after I found a sizable lump in my right breast that I had not felt before. It felt as though it came from out of nowhere…and why should it be there anyway? I was 34.
I heard Tiffany as she told me to call the doctor and put myself first for once. That was a Tuesday. I saw my surgeon that Friday and knew that my life was changing from the look on his face. The next few weeks were a blur as I had my first mammogram and an ultrasound that lead to a biopsy and eventually on May 6, 2014, Dr Burns looked me in the face and said “you have Invasive Ductile Carcinoma.”
MY FRIENDS WERE THERE FOR ME
There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for that. I felt good and I knew my life was about to get really hard and very real really fast. I spent the next few hours on the phone with friends – starting with Tiffany…she was so strong and waited to cry until we hung up and ending with Michele who listened to me cry the most and continued to repeat “No” over and over.
I REALIZED WHAT WAS IMPORTANT
I was now a cancer patient and I was going to have this take me or I was going to stand up and fight. I decided one day that I had to be open and honest with my journey in case there was one person out there who could benefit from knowing my story. I had to get up every day and give thanks for the breath I was taking even in the face of whatever was coming my way. I had a 5 and a 2 year old daughter and I wanted them to see their mother was defined by her inner self and not a picture of what makeup and hair can make you, I wanted them to see a smile on my face – fighting with dignity and grace – that is real beauty, and I wanted them to not have their life altered because I was in a war.
IT WAS A TOUGH JOURNEY
In a short time, I embarked on a journey which included a PET scan, 6 chemotherapy treatments, 4 EKGs (and I still get to have them too), one hospital stay from complications, lost my father to brain cancer, 12 Herceptin infusions, a double mastectomy, 28 radiation treatments, a hysterectomy and oophorectomy, reconstruction, implants removed due to a complication, and re-reconstruction…7 surgeries in 2 years! I had 100% response to the chemo and had no trace of cancer at all in the pathology back from the mastectomy and am enjoying my newfound birthday on October 15 each year! A time to restart your life the second you are told you are cancer free.
I HAD SOME GREAT HELP
Through this journey, I have found that I am truly blessed with the most amazing family and friends who have become my family. A group of amazing women got together and had a fundraiser to help me and my family with the expense of having cancer. I was overwhelmed and amazed by the outpouring of support from each and every one of my friends and family, as well as the support and care from this community that we are all truly blessed to be surrounded by.
THERE ARE MANY ROADS AHEAD
If I am honest, it was hard for me to accept all the love and kindness that was sent my way through people bringing over meals, buying t-shirts that said that they supported me and the Elimination Dinner. I promised I would pay it forward and those amazing women agreed to help me with the Lindsay Williams’ Stronger Than Cancer Elimination Dinner where we raise money for the Mon General Foundation to help other breast cancer patients in their time of need. We embarked on this path to give back to the community that was so gracious and kind to me when I needed it most. My Advisory Committee comprised of Rayanne Dahl, Christa Barvinchak, Caitlyn Alexander, Stacey Bartlett, Brittany Gross, Michele Rafus, Angela Mayfield, Emily Kelly (we miss you!), Jennie Cox, Katie Kennell, Jennifer Connoley, Bethanie Crites, Shay Petitto, Emily Hubbard and Lauren Ritchie continues to be my rock and my constant support. I must also thank my Mom and my Howard Hanna Family I will forever love no matter what road I take and the amazing Realtor friends I have in the Morgantown Board of Realtors and Beyond!
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Please come join us as we celebrate life and giving again this year on October 15, 2016 at Lakeview Resort and help me continue to make my promise to pay it forward a reality! Last year, we raised over $26,000 for breast cancer patients being locally treated – let’s do it again this year, Morgantown!