PART II – VICKI’S STORY
Welcome back to Miracle Monday! This is the conclusion of Vicki’s Journey. If you haven’t read Part I of Vicki’s journey from last week, I welcome you to do so now. http://www.lifeainteasystreet.com/?p=673
“Pathology showed that I did indeed have LCIS in both breasts. I made the right decision, and I had survived. I survived the pain, the drain tubes, the not being able to sleep for weeks because you can’t get comfortable, the inconvenience, the first look in the mirror…I looked at myself and said “Alrighty then.” And then the real wrecking ball hit. He wanted a divorce. I didn’t even have my new perky, perfect breasts yet! I was devastated. But again, I did the research. Studies showed that women who were diagnosed with serious illness were 6 – 7 times more likely to be divorced and going it alone within 3 – 6 month of diagnosis. He had just reduced me to another damn statistic. Of course, he said it had nothing to do with the fact that I had scars instead of boobs, it was my rage, it was this, it was that. Rage? Rage? My divorce was final on February 23, 2013.
He is now married to the woman who was so kind as to inquire about my plans…remember the association dinner?? Can you do the math? I wish them all the best. I can’t thank her enough for being there for him while I was having my breasts amputated, and I can’t think of two people who deserve each other more.
All the good stuff, and there is a lot of good stuff!
The most important thing I can stress is this – be your own healthcare advocate. Don’t just do what they tell you. They don’t know you. Do your research. Our healthcare system is not designed to save your life. It is designed to make money in the most efficient and cost effective way. Do I wake up every day and wonder “did we get it all?”…”is it going to come back?”… yes, I do. But I also know now that I can fight and I will never go down without a fight!
My daughter and I make a great team. She is my rock. She graduated in December with two degrees – psychology and Spanish. I got to visit her in Spain between reconstruction procedures – what a beautiful place, the Mediterranean! Because of my diagnosis…I went through the BRAC testing – and it came back ok. She is not genetically predisposed to breast cancer. I also got tested for several other types of cancer because of family history, and it all came back ok. However, it is my personal opinion that cancer is out to get all of us. Diligence in medical care and follow up is so important. Don’t be afraid to offend your doctor with a second opinion or with your own research.”
“Lifestyle is so important. What we put in our bodies every day is so important. Be careful!
I became involved with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Through that organization I met some amazing women! Strong women! Some have gone through much more than I did. And they are making great strides in beating breast cancer and finding a cure!”
“I adopted another dog (Peyton). That brought the number of dogs to 4, but our 14 year old Golden, Cookie, has since passed. She was so good to me! Peyton and I began to volunteer as a Pet Therapy team in the hospital and court system in Tallahassee.
God gives us all a gift, but we have to use it. I picked up a paint brush again and began to channel all that so-called “rage” into the things that inspired me. I paint canvases, wall murals, but mostly furniture. It’s therapeutic for me. My greatest satisfaction is taking something used, worn, broken (something I can relate to) and make it beautiful and worthy of renewed love. And I moved to St. Augustine, Florida. Some days I just take my camera and walk around this magical little town taking pictures and then I go home and pick up my paint brush. Life is not perfect, but oh so good!”
“A friend once said to me, “Vicki, I am so sorry to hear that you went through breast cancer. And to lose love on top of that!” My response was, “I didn’t lose love. My husband left. Love stayed.” And it did. I am surrounded by great love every single day. I just don’t take it for granted anymore!
And just a little P.S.
I feel better and healthier now than I ever have. And I have great boobs too!”
I appreciate you, Vicki, and your courageousness in sharing your story. To us, you are not a statistic but an inspiration. Thank you.