By Veronica Novy
I would have never imagined that one of my biggest accomplishments in life would be living!
My lifelong dream was to say I just defended my research and now have a doctorate in education. One day I hope to fulfill that dream!
Today, I can actually smile and say that I am so proud of myself, of the courage that I have had to muster up, the multiple surgeries, and the four needles in my breast on the day of my mastectomy. I wanted to scream when the technician told me, and I said to myself, “You’re taking off my breast why do I need more injections.”
I survived that day and many more to follow.
I cried when I learned about my breast cancer diagnosis; it was Stage II. One doctor informed me that I had cancer even before I was scheduled for a biopsy. She just blurted it out, you have cancer! She didn’t even ask me how I felt, or if anyone was there with me. I rode the bus home alone trying to hold back the tears. My treatment was fragmented. I had four doctors and not one of them was located in the same location. I had chemotherapy and radiation treatment at separate locations. My plastic surgeon, as well as my primary care physician, were all at other places all over Queens County.
My claim to this life is not just living but thriving! I learned how to cope when no one was there to hug me. Each week, I prepared a bag for chemo that included my special blanket, my favorite pillow, and my favorite songs on my iPod.
As I reflect back on my early prognosis, I want to thank the many nurses and technicians that offered me a hug or got me an Uber home. I learned how to cope in moments of utter sadness. I think the hardest person to share the news with was my mother. She became my rock, my guiding light, and my prayer partner. Sadly, she passed away in February of this year. However, she leaves me with indelible memories of love and the strength to live my best life. My sister Regina has also given me encouragement beyond compare. It was difficult for her at first, but after she saw my tenacity and willingness to fight this diagnosis, she has been my biggest supporter. She is my best friend forever, as well as my telephone buddy when we are separated by miles.
Today, I am four and a half years cancer free! I learned how to smile again. There are even days when I try not to let the burden of living with a cancer diagnosis define my life.
I joined the Surviving Breast Cancer support group, and I met so many beautiful survivors who helped me. We meet in a virtual chat room every Thursday night, no matter what.
I am happy to share the news that I am the recipient of the Susan G. Komen Treatment Assistance Program Award, as well as the Cancercare Financial award. These two awards give financial assistance to patients who are currently in treatment. The grant can be used for transportation, medical expenses, or anything directly related to your treatment. They are given out annually to qualified candidates.
I feel truly honored and blessed. I will continue to wake up each morning with a song in my heart and a determination to survive.
For further information, contact 1(972) 866-4233 or TreatmentAssistance@Komen.org.
For further information about Cancercare, please call 1(800) 813-HOPE (4673).
You can also check out my podcast interview on the Surviving Breast Cancer website.