In June 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time our sons were three and five years old. Living 1,600 miles from my family in Iowa and 3,250 from my husband’s family in England, I took control of the spin of my story by writing and sharing a journal with family and friends for a year.

I didn’t want anyone to imagine me green and dying. I didn’t want pity. I wanted people to know that breast cancer would have some of our days, but not all of them.

Scientifically speaking, I had Stage IIa (one level up from Stage I) Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in the left breast. This is the most common type of breast cancer and classified as Estrogen Receptor Positive (ER+) and Progesterone Receptor Positive (PR+). The cancer had gone only to the sentinel node.

As for treatment, I had a lumpectomy, three surgeries to get clean margins; chemotherapy every other week for eight cycles; and daily radiation for six weeks. Now, I’m still on the ten-year plan of a daily aromatase inhibitor and monthly Lupron injections which shut down the manufacture of all estrogen and progesterone in my body.

Below, you can read my Staying Strong Journal from the beginning.  To move through the journal, scroll to the very bottom of each entry, then click on the title under "Newer Post." By the way, don't miss my Chemo Camouflage Gallery at the bottom of this page!

My hope is that this disjointed, mostly un-edited journal makes at least one other woman facing breast cancer smile.

Staying strong,

 
 

Chemo Camouflage Gallery

These photos are of me from 2010, toward the end of chemo treatment for breast cancer. While breast cancer left me feeling powerless in many ways, I did not want to look like a woman going through chemo. I didn’t want pity. I wanted my family and friends to see “Linda” when they looked at me. A little colored lip gloss, dangly earrings, new glasses that were the color of my old hair, and a wig were all part of my Chemo Camouflage. My eyebrows and eyelashes had fallen out, so I relied on my glasses to take their place. This Camo made me feel better, putting a bit of power back in my court.