Gandhi once said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
This is the kind of strength we see every day in breast cancer patients – many of our sister Survivors – and those who we have lost to this disease. Here at Eye of the Survivor, we celebrate survival and keep that as the optimum goal – but we also celebrate the journey and honor everyone who has battled this disease, whether they made it to survival or not – they are champions to us.
Nancy Dainesi our March Survivor, received news of her diagnosis while at work - not an ideal setting - but there really is no appropriate setting for receiving this kind of news. She instantly called her sister in law who urged her to get her pathology report ASAP.
For those of us who may not be familiar, your pathology report contains your diagnosis determined by examining cells and tissues under a microscope. For example, the breast tissue removed during a biopsy is sent to a pathologist. A pathologist is a doctor who completes the examination and writes up the report determining if the tissue contains cancer. This report is a crucial fighting tool as it helps flesh out not only your diagnosis but also your prognosis and extent of cancer, if it has spread, etc. Having this information helps figure out the best treatment options for each individual.
Once Nancy received her report, she felt she had a better handle on her particular condition.
"From that moment on I was on top of my diagnosis, the type of breast cancer I had, and made informed decisions regarding my care."
Since Nancy’s cancer seemed to be contained, with clear margins around the tumor, she chose to have a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy.
As we learned last month while discussing February’s Survivor, Tami Lamy, a lumpectomy is a surgery in which cancer, or other abnormal tissue like a tumor, is removed from the breast. Since only a portion of the breast is removed, a lumpectomy is also referred to as breast-conserving surgery or a wide local excision. Medical professionals may also call the procedure an excisional biopsy. During a mastectomy, however, the entire breast is removed. As in Tami’s case, some people may opt for a lumpectomy if the cancer seems contained, but ultimately decide to get a mastectomy if it has spread or come back.
Fortunately for Nancy this wasn’t the case. After her lumpectomy, Nancy received chemo and radiation, enjoying the small things in between.
"Getting outside, breathing the fresh air was refreshing and invigorating for me."
She credits her outdoor activity helping her get back to a routine at work earlier than expected, too.
More than this, she has remained grateful for her children, family and friends.
"I am forever 'lifted' for the love and support I have around me.”
We take birthdays seriously here as you know since another birthday indicates one more year cancer loses! We missed Nancy’s birthday back in September, so a big happy belated to her!
We’re happy you joined us and look forward to next month so we can share more amazing stories of survival and inspiration with you.
As we noted through Gandhi’s words when we began, strength is measured only by our will and we know if you’re a part of this EOTS family you are fiercely strong-willed with your Eye on Strength… See you next time :)