Betsy lost a breast to cancer. When she was given options by her doctor about treatments she was happy. Betsy is not one who likes to be boxed into the corner and have no choices.
Betsy and her husband discussed their options together. Her mother-in-law had done a lumpectomy only to have the cancer come back the following year and take her life. Betsy didn’t want to do anything halfway so she had her doctor remove the whole breast. It seemed to her the best way to get back to living.
The timing was horrible. Six weeks prior to Betsy’s diagnosis her husband had a heart attack; two days before her mastectomy he had a triple angioplasty. Their 18 year old son was now in the position of needing to care for two sick parents. The timing was also great, Betsy had a gastric bypass surgery two years earlier and had lost 150 lbs. She was already looking at getting a tummy tuck and a breast reduction.
It worked. The cancer was gone. She needed no more treatment. When they did the reconstruction in two phases (there is still one more step if Betsy decides to do it), she had her other breast reduced so it would match the size of the rebuilt breast.
Have you heard of survivor’s guilt? Betsy feels this sometimes. She explained to me that since she didn’t have to go through chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone blockers that she doesn’t feel worthy of being called a Breast Cancer Survivor.
“But Betsy, You lost a whole breast!”
She smiled at me and shrugged her shoulders. “I sort of had a very expensive boob job. My bigger concern was my husband and his heart.”
I asked Betsy what she learned from her cancer journey.
“I try not to ask the ‘why’ question,” she says. “I ask God to help me embrace each experience on my journey. I ask him to help me and then use me to help others.”