Friday, January 6, 2012

My Story...

One year ago today marks the anniversary of a devastating phone call that I received right before dinner. The surgeon asked if my husband was nearby, and said that he was afraid that he had some “not-so-good” news for us: My tumor was malignant and I would need to undergo treatments for breast cancer. I had the sinking feeling that my life would never be the same again. I was right.

I remember awaking to panic attacks then desperately wishing to go back to sleep forever because any dream or even nightmare was better than facing such an intimidating reality. I remember lying on the floor, unable to get up because my body felt completely numb and my insides felt empty. Then I felt confused, guilty, hopeless, and terrified, all at the same time.

My mom and husband had to drag me out of bed and then take me to dozens of doctors to discuss the details of my diagnosis and our plan of action for treatment. We learned that I had an aggressive form of cancer that would require both surgery (mastectomy) and a regimen of chemotherapy with extremely nasty side effects. I remember crying when I was told that I would be poked with needles on a regular basis and that I would lose all of my hair. Little did I know then that those things would actually be the easy part of my upcoming year. I truly had no idea what I was up against, but I knew that I did not want to die.

Somewhere between then and now, my naïve and sheltered self evolved into a more secure and confident version of who I once was. I developed spiritually as I learned to continuously lean on God for strength. My values and priorities shifted to reflect what I believe to matter: the relationships with the people in my life rather than the accumulation of material items or the concern of how things look from the outside. I know that I am blessed to even be alive today after not only having breast cancer, but also two deadly staph infections, sepsis, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, and terrible side effects that I won't even mention on this blog.  (I don’t want to scare anyone, since the type of treatments and physical reactions are different for each person). I know that this is cliché, but “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Sometimes hitting rock bottom can allow a person to love and appreciate everything in their life to a greater extent. I certainly don’t expect my life to go smoothly and perfectly anymore, but most of the situations that I encounter won’t seem so bad compared to what I have experienced. The obstacles and challenges are actually what strengthen us.

On my one year “cancerversary,” I feel so much gratitude towards all my loved ones and friends who supported me as I was going through treatments, and also those who reached out to me afterwards. I wouldn’t have made it without my husband. Barry and my mom were right by my side every single day, my best friends cheered me up with numerous visits, and my baby boy gave me a reason for fighting. Ryan deserves to have a healthy mommy that is here for a long time! So many people have sent me encouraging messages and thoughtful gifts, and others have found various ways of supporting breast cancer awareness in honor of me. Thank you all for your support throughout this crazy year, and I will always remember how special and loved that you made me feel.


  1. This video just made me tear up! You are so strong and have persevered through so much. I love you and can't wait to see you on Sunday!!! xoxo

  2. You are so amazingly strong! May this year bring you fonder memories!!

  3. @Karen- Aww! I had a great time seeing you girls yesterday too!! <3

    @Marlowe- Thank you! I am hoping that this year will be more relaxing (at least!) than last year.

  4. Wow, Dana! A great reminder of how much you've gone through, and what a strong, amazing, and beautiful woman, wife, and mother you are! Love you!

  5. @Erin- Thanks, hun. Love you too!!

  6. Hi

    Came accross your site while looking for toddler activities. What an amazing and inspiring women you are. And so much going on when all a mommy wants to do is snuggle her baby.

    Hope you get to enjoy all of your beautiful sons.


  7. @Helena- Thank you for your sweet words! I have been enjoying plenty of snuggle time with both of my boys these days (and loving every minute of it!) I feel very blessed to be where I am today.


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