By Roxy Hope Harrison
I’ve been in remission for a little over a year.
I had a rash/discoloration under my right breast and I showed it to my PCP, she said it’s probably just a heat rash but if I’m concerned I can get a mammogram done. I was only 37 so I wasn’t too worried and went for the mammogram, they called me 2 weeks later that they want to do another one so they can compare it to the first one, well, I did it they then told me on the spot that they want me to do an ultrasound. So I did an ultrasound. Then the breast surgeon came in and told me there are some images that she’s concerned about and she wants to do a biopsy. Long story short, the biopsy confirmed it stage 1 DCIS and DCIS IN SITU.
The funny thing was, the cancer was on the left breast and the discoloration was under the right. To this day I still don’t know what that grayish discoloration was but if not for that they wouldn’t have caught it so early so that’s my miracle story!
I had a double mastectomy, 6 rounds of chemo and now on a hormone blocker for 10 years.
Now here’s the miracle of how they discovered the ovarian cancer. Right after my breast cancer diagnosis they suggested I do genetic testing. I tested BRCA 1 positive with a high chance of ovarian cancer.
After chemo my oncologist said I should have a hysterectomy just to be on the safe side, well guess what, we did it for preventative reasons and they took everything out.
There was a polyp on the cervix, pre-cancerous cells in the inner lining of the uterus and a tumor on the ovary. Had we not done the hysterectomy I might have needed more chemo so those are my miracles!
Chemo turned my world upside down and I wasn’t one to give up. Although a few times during chemo I said I wanted to quit chemo, someone told me that quitting chemo would be like quitting life and I wasn’t ready to quit life. It was NOT easy by any means but I survived and came out on the other side victorious and can happily say that May 16, 2020 was one year I celebrated being cancer free.
My memory was always bad but chemo messed it up more and now I have a 20 second memory capacity. It ruined my teeth completely. I had to have oral surgery to remove all top teeth because they were severely decayed.
Within one year I had five surgeries, 3 of them breast cancer related. Not having reconstruction was a no brainer for me. I never liked my breasts and I never wanted them; they were big, I hated them. It’s sad that it took cancer to get rid of them but it was my silver lining.
My silver lining for chemo was that my hair will grow back double and curly and I was so excited and looking forward to that. I always had very little hair. It started falling out when I was 16 (PCOS). I finished chemo April 10 2019. Only some of the hair grew back in the back a couple of inches but on top wasn't growing which was very frustrating. I can’t afford good human hair wigs. I tried Rogaine, castor oil and hair loss concealer but to no avail.
Here is a poem I wrote about cancer:
Cancer, in September of 2018 with a vengeance you reared your ugly face, You thought you can win this race. You came along and the wind out of me you tried to blow, But this tough lady was not going to lay low. You entered into my life, And wanted to cut me with a knife. Faith threatened to leave me, But it doesn’t know how strong I can be. Hope tried to dissuade me, But the light at the end of tunnel I could see. You attempted to take away my dignity, my sense of self and my health, But you can never take away who I am myself. The days ahead you wanted to steal, But no ways can you make me feel. You can’t take anything away from me, Because tougher than you I will always be. My life you thought you can take away, But I am here to show you that I am here to stay. Treatments were not easy or fun, But with everything I had in me I held on. I cried many a night, But I was positive I will never give up this fight. Even though many days I felt blue, I will not let cancer tell me what to do. Cancer was not going to kill me on my time, I knew I would be just fine. I will come out more resilient on the other side, So I rode along with the tide. Cancer's ass I will kick, And to my faith I will stick. Cancer, this warrior you will not kill, I am alive and kicking still. Above me you did hover, But I will never let you win me over. You are never going to tell me what to do, That I am bigger than you I definitely knew. I will show you who is the boss, Trying to take me away is your loss. Now that I’m a survivor I can proudly say, Out my door you shall forever stay!