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"Let me start by stating that I was extremely surprised to be invited to send a story about my own personal experience with breast cancer and that there are a limited few of us on these Boards with 10+ years. I am honored and grateful.

"My journey started summer of 2003 but I was so in denial that I did not get fully diagnosed until the fall of 2003. When I first received the phone call stating there was an abnormality I blew it off as I did not want to deal. Finally, I did deal and the sheer terror at that time was indescribable. For sure I thought I was going to die immediately. I was totally uneducated and full of fear. Before the surgery in November of 2003, every MD I saw insisted that I must do chemo, which brought me to these Boards. After exhaustive soul searching, researching and very frank discussions with my oncologist, I opted to do surgery and radiation followed up by tamoxifen and Aromasin. I opted out of chemo, much to the dismay of all medical personnel. It was my personal decision and to this day, I have never regretted it. What I have come to realize through this journey is that you must make all the ultimate decisions that you are comfortable with and only then can you fully get on with your life. I did just that. 

Unfortunately, my support system slowly dwindled to a very small few at that time. My twin sister was my main support, and she died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm about 1 year after I was diagnosed. It was like taking hit after hit after hit, BUT I kept on going and going (just like the energizer bunny)! 

So much has gone on with my own health stemming from the breast cancer, but rather than talk about that, just know that I cannot emphasize how important it is for you to do what you are comfortable with and to never look back and second guess yourself. I did that and here I am, one of a few others with 10+ years. I am honored and grateful. 

There are so many options out there today, so never feel like you have been dealt a death sentence (as I did). Look at is as a bump in the road which you will recover from, though in the beginning, you just cannot see that clearly. Have faith in whatever it is that keeps you strong and try your darned hardest to stay as positive as possible. And these Boards gave me a wealth of information and support that I could not have found anywhere else, and for that I will always be eternally grateful."

--RCL (Rosemary)

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