Dear [newsfield name=”name”],
I am especially grateful to God as I celebrate the holidays in 2016 and anticipating a great new year in 2017.
For Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day last year, I was in recovery at a skilled nursing care facility. In May 2015, I was diagnosed with Infiltrating ductal carcinoma in my right breast. Since the cancer was considered “aggressive” the oncologist made the decision to start chemotherapy immediately and scheduled surgery for after the chemo treatment.
Chemotherapy was hard but I fared reasonably well and completed the treatment on September 30, 2015. Surgery was scheduled for end of October, giving me a month of recuperation time. On October 15, 2015, I was running a fever and my oncologist asked me to go to the hospital emergency room (standard procedure with chemo patients). I had a general feeling of being unwell and very tired. Frankly I had felt that way during most of chemo treatment so I figured the doctors at the emergency room will poke around, prescribe something and send me back home.
Alas, it was quite a while before I was able to return home; February 9, 2016, to be exact :(!
Apparently, my very weakened immune system had succumbed to pneumonia which very quickly became septic. I was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit and spent the next 10 days on life support and in a coma. My system almost permanently shut down.
When I came out of the coma, intubated, I was astonished because I never had a cough or respiratory distress before I went to the emergency room. I was even more astonished to find that I had lost much of my muscle tone and motor skills. I had lost the ability to write, feed myself or stand up, much less walk.
On Halloween day, 2015, I was discharged from the hospital into a skilled nursing care facility to begin the recovery process. It was slow going without an assurance of the final outcome. It was scary. I felt so helpless. People were doing everything for me – that really is not as much fun as it sounds. For example, when the ambulance transport driver and attendant came to transfer me from the hospital to the skilled nursing care, it had been over 2 weeks since I was out in the sun. When they rolled me out of the vehicle and the sun hit my face, I wanted to linger in the sun but they would not let me. “Please,” I pleaded, “couldn’t you just ‘forget’ me here in the courtyard for five minutes and go inside to sign the papers before coming back to get me?!” It didn’t work. They rolled me right in, flat on my back. It was several days before the facility completed my assessment, assigned me a physical therapist who eventually got me on a wheel chair and rolled me out into the courtyard, into the sun.
I was asking myself, “will I ever be able to walk again and do normal activities?” I truly wanted to and so grateful that God answered my prayers. Every day was an opportunity to experience a triumph, some days more triumphant than others. Working with the Therapists, I went from taking a few footsteps a day with a walker to taking 10, 20, 50 and 120 steps a day. As I got stronger and more stable, we repeated the process without a walker and progressed to stair climbing.
By January 20, 2016, I was well enough to undergo the surgery to remove the breast tumor. Shortly after that I was deemed well enough to be functional on my own and finally able to go home.
Since the breast surgery was delayed because I was too ill with the pneumonia, there was quite a concern that the cancer cells might regroup during that time. I was looking at the possibility of having more chemotherapy treatments. I feel very lucky and grateful to God that the margins were clear from the surgery and no cancer cells were found in the tissue that were removed. That was a triumphant day. A lot of happy tears!
I had radiation therapy in April-May of 2016. I was very tired during the treatments but there were no complications or burns.
Happily, I can tell you that I am in full remission! In the last two months, I have had series of blood tests, MRIs and scans. The last of the tests was a PET CT scan just before Christmas and the results have shown that there are no cancer cells. A triumph indeed! I have a cancer-surviving friend and she prefers to call herself, not just a “cancer survivor” but a “cancer overcomer.” By the Grace of God, I too, am a cancer overcomer!
Through this experience, I have learned several things. I know now that a cancer diagnoses does not have to be a death sentence. There is a tremendous amount of good information and support that is out there when you look diligently. [Ladies, I am happy to share what I’ve learned about breast cancer and be a resource.] I encourage you to stay informed about what health issues you may have but understand that no two people are going to have the exact same experience. You have to walk your walk; be open and proactive and not be stumped when the unexpected happens. Above all, pray for the best outcome, have faith that it will come true for you and be kind to yourself.
I am sending this message to you firstly, to share my good news of recovery and the gratitude I feel when I think of where I was last year and how well I am doing now, one year later. Secondly, because it appeared like I unceremoniously dropped out of circulation after the Social Media and Online Marketing seminars with the Escondido Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Initially, it was by choice that I laid low so that I could concentrate on my treatment program but eventually, I was just too ill to participate in anything.
I am happy to tell you that in recent months I have started taking small steps back to working again. The recent results of the PET CT Scan has given me impetus to plan for normal activities in 2017. I am looking forward to returning to networking events and to your company once again.
Thank you for reading my long email. Attached is an eBook gift for you, “Fearless You.”
Happy New Year, indeed!
Augustine Web Business Solutions