Sharon Dunham

10/15/2009 5:42 PM

10/15/2009 5:43 PM

What a surprise I received after having my yearly mammogram, followed by an ultrasound that led to an MRI. I had breast cancer. I was the first woman in my family to receive this diagnosis. I’ve always been afraid of the word “cancer” but it didn’t seem to alter my behavior at the news. I didn’t ask “why” or feel sorry for myself, none of the usual reactions.

Preliminary preparation and surgery were interesting; some pain but nothing I couldn’t stand. What was originally diagnosed as a Lumpectomy turned out to be the removal of half of one breast and 14 lymph nodes under my right arm. With the exception of the first chemo treatment and its after affects, I didn’t miss a day of work. Yes, I was exhausted but the office is small and they were lenient if I needed to rest.

An unexpected reward was the care I received at the Breast Center after surgery. It was very warm and fuzzy. Many of the staff had gone through cancer themselves and were aware of what people needed. Another plus in my getting better is that I had a support group of four sisters, two daughters and a nephew. They each selected a chemo appointment, made arrangements to leave their family and sit with me during the 3-hour session and staying several days after each treatment. Most of them lived out-of-state.

I haven’t forgotten the many old and new friends throughout the process. People have warm hearts. One friend provided me with a garage door opener since I was not allowed to do heavy lifting and even had it installed. Another knit me a prayer shawl and others a prayer blanket. There were many spiritual gifts given to me. Whether people called or emailed me, it was great to know they cared. My name was on prayer lists all over the country.

Now my life is a combination of several doctors and follow-up appointments to watch over me. There will always be that worry in the back of my mind wondering if it will come back. I pray that it doesn’t. But that isn’t going to rule my life.

Remember, there is always someone somewhere worse off.

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