Welcome to 2018 Survivor Fam!
We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are getting the New Year off to a great start.
Clearly we are psyched to roll out our current fighter-dozen, representing each month of the new year.
We are excited to welcome these women to our family and learn a bit more about each of them!
To get things started let's meet Violet, our Survivor for January.
First, as you may already feel and see from her calendar spread (photo above) Violet's smile brings a special kind of light. Some people just exude a little something extra.
In Violet's case, this light spirit, coupled with a true EOTS fighter-spirit, served her well in taking down breast cancer.
Like a true champion, it wasn't easy to catch Violet by surprise. She was already on the lookout.
Since just 18, Violet had many experiences with breast tumors, all of which she found herself and all of which were benign. This is a clear indicator that Violet has always been a proactive person, conducting self-exams and following up with a doctor when needed, a take-charge manner that most likely helped Violet stay a step ahead of breast cancer.
At 61 Violet found another tumor and this time she just knew it was going to be trouble, even despite having had a clear mammogram just two months prior. We've emphasized this before but please know your body and trust your instincts! Violet did, and she was right.
After a gynecological examination she met with a surgeon and was admitted into the hospital to undergo a lumpectomy.
As we've discussed in previous posts (see When Breast Cancer Strikes, Again and Strength, No Matter Your Size) a lumpectomy is a surgery in which cancer, or other abnormal tissue like a tumor, is removed from the breast. Since it differs from a mastectomy which removes the entire breast, a lumpectomy is also referred to as breast-conserving surgery or a wide local excision since only part of the breast is being removed. Medical professionals may also call the procedure an excisional biopsy.
After her lumpectomy, Violet was admitted into the hospital again for the removal of lymph nodes. Since several lymph nodes were found to be affected, Violet was scheduled to begin chemotherapy with radiation to follow. Violet completed a full year of treatment and came out with success. Today at 85, we'd guess she's still feeling the win being cancer-free for 24 years!
While there's no fool-proof method to follow or any secret (though we wish there was!) one thing to note is that Violet has always been in overall good physical health, staying active by playing tennis (as pictured above), working out at the gym, skiing and horseback riding.
It's very likely that Violet's healthy level of fitness not only helped keep her spirits up, but also helped combat common chemo side effects.
"During chemotherapy, I had very few problems, blood work was always right on, and I took pills occasionally for nausea. I was able to continue with all of my physical activities. I only had one very bad night where I felt I was losing everything."
And it's understandable why this aforementioned bad night happened. In the midst of battling breast cancer, Violet lost her dog, horse and mother all within a two month time frame.
Violet credits her husband and four children for being such a strong support system helping her combat even the toughest of nights.
Be that as it may, we think Violet's own inner strength and outlook had A LOT to do with things, too ;)
"Staying strong and positive and never doubting that I would one day be cancer-free kept me moving forward." We agree!
Violet, thank you for sharing your story with us and becoming a part of our EOTS family! Your story and beauty inspires us today and always.
See everyone next time!