Warriors

Leslie’s Stripes

September 29, 2015 is not only mine and my husband’s wedding anniversary, but it is also the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Never in a million years did I ever think I would hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”  I sat there as if the world just stopped turning and I was frozen in time.  The first thing I could even think to ask was, “Am I going to die?”  All I could think about was our 14 year old son who still needs his mom and my 23 year old son who is getting married in June 2016.  I HAVE to be here for my kids.  My surgeon reassured me I will be fine.

Leslie and husband

After my team of doctors reviewed my biopsy results, their best recommendation was to have a mastectomy.  Again, I was in shock.  After thinking the whole thing over for a couple days, I decided that I would have a bilateral mastectomy.  I would much rather do everything at once and hope and pray to God that I would never have to go through this again.  So, on October 21, 2015, the day before my 47th birthday, I had a bilateral mastectomy.

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From the beginning, I kept an upbeat attitude as I was NOT going to let breast cancer take my life from me.  I knew I had to be strong and that’s exactly what I did.  I am an avid weightlifter and my trainer and I have had numerous talks about how weightlifting not only makes you physically stronger, but mentally strong as well.  Between weightlifting and my unwavering faith in God, I knew I was going to get through this!  I have developed a much stronger relationship with God and I totally believe in the power of prayer.  I do because so many of my prayers have been answered.  I was diagnosed with triple negative with DCIS cells.  I was dealing with two types of cancer!  Luckily, the pathology report came back showing the tumor was completely removed and no traces of DCIS, nor did the cancer spread to my lymph nodes!  Thank you God.

 

Because of the aggressiveness of my type of cancer, I had to do 4 rounds of chemotherapy and no radiation.  I completed all 4 rounds and my last one was on January 27, 2016!  I’m so excited to ring the bell and be done with treatments!

YAY

The most upsetting part of this whole journey was losing my hair.  Yes, it is hair and yes, it will grow back, but it’s my hair and I want it. After weeks of losing the majority of it, I let my husband shave my head.  The initial look made me cry, but I soon came to embrace it.  I will admit, showering is awesome because I’m done in 5 minutes and I don’t have to dry my hair!

Leslie

I see life a lot different now and I honestly am a much more compassionate person.  I will never take anything for granted again and I now enjoy taking the time to stop and smell the roses.

I would never wish this on anyone, but it has made me a better person.  My husband and family have been so amazing with their love and support, as well as my friends.  I would be lost without them.  I am looking forward to my reconstructive surgery this summer and then I will be done!  Time to keep moving forward and living life to the fullest.

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Comments (10)

  • Through this whole journey, I never once asked “why me?” I know there’s a reason and one of them is to make sure I spread the word for women to get their mammograms done!!! Also, always have things checked out. The excuse ” I have no family history so it can’t be cancer” just doesn’t hold water anymore. I had no family history either. If I can save one woman’s life I will be happy as can be!

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  • Hi Leslie, thank you for sharing your story. I am also a breast cancer survivor. I had a double mastectomy as well. Today, 2 years out I have one implant and I am flat on the other side. Feel like a freak. My point is, please get a few opinions on your reconstruction. Glad your walking w God.

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    • My reconstruction will be done on both sides.

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  • I’ve been in awe of how you and the family went thru this….and it is thru 🙂
    Having a supportive and creative spouse is so important in healing. Your a great couple. I’ll never forget the junker car surprise. That was pretty darn cool. I’m glad you are doing so well and have been such a blessing.
    God is faithful.

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  • Leslie I’m so glad we met not the way that we met Cause we met because of our Cancer disease. I admire your strength and positive energy throughout your cancer journey. I learned from you and my supporters that we have to fight not just for ourselves but for our families. I Thank you for your advice when we met because knowing that I wasn’t alone in this journey that I had others who were going through the same emotions as I was. I’m so excited for you having finished your Chemo. Can’t wait to see what else life has to offer. You have your sons wedding coming up soon and God will continue to bless you and I continue to keep you in my prayers. Love you my Pink Sister.

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    • Actually, I have two weddings this year! My stepdaughter is getting married in August. It will be a busy summer! I’m so glad I met you too and I enjoy your positive attitude!!!!

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  • God bless you Leslie and your family. I’ll keep you all in my prayers and my our Lord hold your hands and continue to guide you. You’re a brave woman – warrior just like my cousin Mindy.

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  • You go girl! Prayers for continued strength. If you ever need someone to talk to you can contact me. Fellow survivor and parent of a bowling kid (Jacob Donahue)

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    • Thank you so much!

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  • You are truly an inspiration. When I found out you had cancer I was crushed. I cried for you….a lot. I thought how could this happen? I’m so happy that you have come through this with flying colors. The cancer is gone. Your attitude and positive spirit helped ME! You are a wonderful person and I’m so thankful for everyone who helped you beat this including the Lord above.

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