Everywhere I go, I see the pink shirts, pins, ribbons, even hats. It’s all to make people aware of Breast Cancer. Through early detection, they really do save lives. Get a mammogram. Do a self-examination of your breasts every day. Guys, too! I’m not kidding. Men can get breast cancer.
Where am I going with this?
On Christmas Eve 2018 as I got ready for bed, I found something on the bottom of my left breast, near the rib cage. I had a lump more like a rock. In my March mamogram, there had been nothing. Now I had a rock inside me.
The next business day, I was busy calling my doctor to set up an appointment. I would take any cancellation to get in as early as I could. I would see one of the colleagues if my doctor was booked solid. Then began a month of tests, meeting doctors. and choosing my team.
I was at Stage 1, but it was growing and near Stage 2. They looked at the options available for the type of cancer I had. The team decided it was best to shrink it and then have surgery. Even in breast cancer, there are several types. Doctors have been able to figure out which cancer reacts to and is killed off by which medication.
Months of chemotherapy was in my future. I decided it was time to retire from my part-time job and become a full-time author. Even though my novel was finished and edited, I was going through final edits with my editor. When I was feeling particularly gloomy, I made my editor promise that she would publish the book if I died.
My editor is tough. She sent me a galley to go through for the final of the print version. We decided to publish the print first to prepare for the conference I was going to in October. She had me thinking of things I had to do for the book, which lightened my mood and definitely distracted me.
My immune system was compromised, and under doctor’s orders, I could not do things where I could catch the germs of others. I love playing with my grandchildren. Sitting on the floor and building houses of blocks is so much fun. Then we knock them down and laugh. I love going to church then chatting with folks afterward and going out to lunch. I love sushi! I miss going to conventions and meeting people. When I wasn’t at the hospital, I was a homebody proofing my book and randomly napping. I even started to write a nonfiction book. That one won’t be out until next year.
There were many amazing people I met throughout the process – doctors, nurses, technicians, staff, and other patients. My family and friends supported me through the darkness when my hope slipped. Each had a hopeful vision that carried them through. It changed my world of thinking. It gave me courage and the hope of a future.
On August 12, I had surgery.
Lab results came back negative. The cancer was gone! Technically, I can’t say I’m cancer-free until five years have passed, but I am dancing with glee. Now I’m going through the process of rebuilding a breast. For me, there are some after-effects from the chemotherapy which will take awhile to wash out of my system. Important to know: Some people never have side effects from chemo.
My life is a joy filled experience. I have grandchildren to play with. I’m working up to longer walks. I will be back going to church soon. The October conference will be here soon! I’m making my author basket and so excited to be going to Fall in Love with New England Readers/Authors Conference again.
During all this, my novel The Vampire with a Blanket of Stars came out. The book is about love, courage and fighting through darkness. Was it really a coincidence, that I was proofing the final galley while fighting cancer?
The book is now available at Amazon Print and Kindle.
I encourage everyone reading this to commit to a daily self-exam. If you find something, don’t dally. Make that phone call to your doctor. It could save your life. It saved mine.
Susan Hanniford Crowley, Amazon Kindle Bestselling Author of Vampire Romance
Where love burns eternal and whispers in the dark!
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