"My story starts with me being 45, recently divorced, sending my only child and daughter off to school. I had moved from a big house into a penthouse apartment with my new boyfriend and started a new job at a dream company. It was November of 2012 and I found a lump I had never felt before. Thought it was a new cyst since I have those. I went to the doctor in January, took that long to get an appointment. I received the diagnosis on Valentine's Day: triple negative. I was told by the radiologist that if you were going to have cancer, this was a good one to have because it responds well to chemo. I went to the local hospital and didn't like the doctor. She wanted to cut first. I ended up with doctors from the Lacks Cancer Center and my care was fabulous. By the end of August there was no evidence of disease. It's the result you want, that makes the doctor smile and say, 'This is the outcome we hope for.'
"I know I am lucky and blessed. The good things that came from it was reconciling with my daughter. We had been at odds since I divorced her dad. Realizing that my lover/boyfriend was in my life for the long haul and I needed to live again. I'm glad I had it as I would never want to see my mom or daughter go through this. I'm strong, I'm tough as nails, I worked all through this ordeal and took off a total of six days. One was to get a blood transfusion. I was a bit nervous about that, but I left the hospital dancing!
"It's been over three years since I was diagnosed, about 2 from being cancer free and 1 from when I felt like me again. I have neuropathy and on going joint pain that the doctors can't figure out. It's a deep ache and nothing gets rid of it. I have learned to live with it. I also had early menopause. Luckily my doctors in Ann Arbor let me take estrogen and progesterone. I have very few hot flashes now.
"I don't associate with 'pink'. That frenzy is something I stay out of. I prefer to figure out how I go on with my day-to-day without looking over my shoulder. I visit here only to help where I can and let people know you can survive this and continue with a great life if you can focus away from what happened. I also visit to hear the stories of others when I feel low.
"Thank you for listening and being there for me!"
-- Fiercer, diagnosed triple negative in February 2013