Before my doctor ever said your name, Cancer, the stress at home was weakening my immune system and quietly giving you energy, fueling your growth. I had missed my mammogram appointment by six months. I hadn’t worried about it because previous tests had shown nothing suspicious.
During those six months, I thought something was wrong, but little did I know that it was you growing inside me. I had spoken to my doctors in Dallas about the throbbing and pulsating feeling I had where you were growing, but you, Cancer, are so sneaky that you were able to hide from them.
Even though I was always watching my diet and exercising, you found your way into my body, Cancer. You got an advantage when I missed my appointment and dealt with too much stress. You were able to advance to stage II and grow bigger.
I found family at MD Anderson, Cancer
When I found out about you, Cancer, you made me feel so miserable and scared. I thought you were going to take me away from my daughters who needed me to be there for them. I was alone and didn't know what to do.
I went to MD Anderson for a second opinion, and the minute I arrived, I felt I was in good hands. I felt at ease knowing MD Anderson provides the latest technologies and treatments. I was not alone anymore. I found people who cared, who gave me hope, who were there for me, who guided me, who made me laugh, who knew what they were against up, and wanted to help me fight you. I found people who hate you as much as I do, Cancer.
MD Anderson became the family I needed at that time, and they were not going to fail me. I came to the right place at the right time, Cancer. A drug called Perjeta had just been approved by the FDA a week before I started my treatment. Perjeta is used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer in women like me. My doctor, Kimberly Koenig, M.D., decided to use it as part of my chemo protocol to increase our chances of beating you.
This was a fight I was not going to let you win. It's a fight MD Anderson battles every day. They fight this battle against you, Cancer, so that patients like me can survive and thrive.
I beat you, Cancer
With my wonderful team of experts and caring staff at MD Anderson and at home, we knocked you out, Cancer. I hope you never touch my body again.
And I hope you know I’m living my life in spite of you, Cancer. I'm now a two-year breast cancer survivor and was able to see my oldest daughter graduate from high school. I got to take her to college, see my youngest get into high school, spend special moments together and live life. I’m back to lifting weights.
I’m also telling other people to pay attention to their bodies, to avoid stress and, most importantly, to get their screening exams. I’m telling everyone these things, Cancer, because I don’t want anyone else to have to deal with you.
I’m living in the moment now, but know this: I’m watching you, Cancer. And you won’t win.