This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
Linda is the kind of woman who likes to laugh. A lot. She is also the kind of woman who likes to meet life with a healthy dose of sarcasm. When asked about the ceremonial ringing of the bell after completing breast cancer treatment, she said she just “loooooved” the bell and then let out a big guffaw. That’s because Linda is living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), meaning that her cancer has spread to other areas of her body, and her treatments continue. She is currently facing an uphill battle and instead of focusing her energy too much on ringing that bell, she looks for other ways to celebrate everyday moments.
Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after a routine mammogram. At first she and her husband Brian cried every day for two weeks. She suggests that if that’s what you need to do, do it. “Get it all out. It’s OK to cry,” she says. “But eventually I had gotten on my own last nerve with all that crying and was ready to stop crying and face it.”
It was three years ago when her doctors found a spot on her lung and eventually some lesions in her brain. She quickly began chemotherapy and radiation and is currently still having treatment and although it can make her unwell at times, she’s come through all of it a little stronger and with a renewed capacity to forgive.
It was scary at first, but Linda says she finds hope and support by being in contact with other women diagnosed with MBC on Facebook. “I don’t know how people do this on their own. I’m just so lucky to have my husband, family and friends along with my team at the infusion center,” Linda says. Having an oncologist she really “clicks with” is also a big help.
Thankfully, the treatment for her brain lesions appears to have been successful and she’s reveling in that victory. She’s even started thinking about buying her own bell to ring as much as she wants, she says with a hearty laugh.