My life before the cancer diagnosis was very different than the life I lead today. The changes I experienced in the last three years have not been entirely bad. There have been a lot of positive, good changes that have taken place in my life. But to understand where I am going, I have to understand where I have been. This blog is a story about my life, my cancer journey and life after cancer. When I was going through the cancer process I really did not have many resources. I felt lost and not sure how to navigate through the cancer process. I wanted so badly to identify with someone else, someone who has been there before and can appreciate how I feel or what I am thinking. I felt alone, by myself on this island called cancer. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt. So, I hope my blog can provide some guidance and support and hope to someone who is currently experiencing what I have or I am currently experiencing.
After I finished my cancer treatments I considered writing a book for other women who are cancer patients, a resource book. But after I published my children’s book, I tried to sit down to write another book and I didn’t have the inspiration or motivation like I had when I wrote the children’s book. I feel I have so much to share with others about my own cancer experience and my life today that I had to find a way to help others. Hence, the blog! So, before we go any further I should tell you where I have been so you can understand my life today.
It all started in February 2014. I was experiencing pain in my left breast. The kind of throbbing that was not going away. It occurred at night, during day, all day! I cut back on my alcohol intake and caffeine, but nothing was changing. I met my mother in New York for my uncle’s funeral. I told her about the breast pain and she implored me to schedule a doctor’s appointment. I ignored her. It was not until June 2014, that I finally visited my doctor. I told my doctor about the breast pain and she ordered my first mammogram. It was key that she ordered a bi-lateral mammogram because the mass was in my right breast. The breast that did not have the pain. I could not feel a lump in my right breast, and I did not have any signs of breast cancer in my right breast. However, the pathology confirmed in July 2014 that the mass was cancerous. After the diagnosis, the pain in my left breast went away.
To this day, I have no idea what caused the pain in my left breast. The doctors don’t have a medical reason or diagnosis for that pain. My breast surgeon advised me that breast pain is not a sign of breast cancer. So, what was the pain?? The only explanation I have been given by my doctors is that someone above, God, was looking out for me. The pain is something that cannot be explained medically, but there is a spiritual explanation.
Over the course of two years I had 5 surgeries, 8 chemotherapy treatments over a period of 16 weeks, and 25 radiation treatments. I am happy to report today that I am healthy and my test results are good. But my perspective on life has forever changed. I have titled my blog – turning my paige because our life is a book and we have different chapters in our book. Some chapters are longer than others. And some chapters are more emotional than others. But no matter the chapter, you must turn the page and move forward. It’s okay to go back and read a page in a chapter, but you cannot stay on that page forever. Don’t be stuck! Move forward and turn your page. I am turning my paige today.