A year ago in August, at 33 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I do not have any family history and am considered a “healthy person”. I was shocked and scared but at the same time thankful that it was caught early. The few days after my diagnosis were a blur. I met with several surgeons and an oncologist. I scheduled for surgerywithin two weeks. I couldn’t wait to get the cancer “out of me”.
I had several people reach out to me. Some for advice, some to be noisy and some to send their prayers. A client of CCS reached out to me through a mutual friend on Facebook. She said some encouraging words and sent me a link of a website she had created of organizations that she found helpful during her diagnosis. I am a teacher who is the sole provider for my two children. While I am very blessed in many ways, I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to do it all, like I had been, with so much time I was going to have to take off.
I reached out to CCS completely lost and not really sure what do. I gave them my info and shortly thereafter received a call from a social worker. I remember the exact moment that they told me for six months my insurance premium was going to be reimbursed. I began to cry. I couldn’t believe that through all the darkness something good was happening to me and my family. James was caught off guard and assured me that CCS was happy to help. In a lot of ways I felt guilty for accepting.
Every holiday I received a phone call from CCS asking if I had a meal. Thankfully, I did. The thought and time to call me to make sure my family and I would have a meal for the holidays touched my heart. In December I received another phone call. This time someone wanted to adopt us for Christmas, but I was reluctant. Feeling guilty again, I accepted. I will NEVER forget the look on my children’s face when the gifts were delivered to our house. One person after another. Each person came in with a handful of gifts. I just couldn’t believe it…. again.
I had 5 months of chemo and several reconstructive surgeries. My fight is not over. My journey has just begun. I think too often people forget the patient isn’t the only one affected. My children, 8 and 4 at the time, hurt too. Over the summer Toni called me about the kids attending CampCARE. My kids have never gone to camp and seeing that I am off over the summer, I was hesitant. Toni assured me they were going to have a “grand ole time,” and they sure did. The kids woke up on their own and were ready to go every morning. Each day was a new adventure. My kids were surrounded by children who were also affected somehow by cancer and by adults who showed them compassion. Cancer wasn’t the only thing they talked about, because just like the chant they recited every afternoon stated, “We will NOT let cancer control our life.” CampCARE was the highlight of the kids’ summer.
CCS continues to support my family. We spend time with some of our friends from camp at movie nights once a month at Family Camp Day. Our hearts continue to heal. Through these functions we are reminded we are not alone. We celebrate life and each other. I will forever be grateful for the support CCS has given us.