Nobody plans to be diagnosed with cancer. It isn’t invited into your life, and it certainly doesn’t fit into anyone’s schedules, dreams or long term visions. However, millions of American every year receive the same news that I did on November 5, 2015. It doesn’t discriminate against age, race, sex, or fitness level. It can creep into your life and change everything overnight. When I received the dreaded diagnosis, I was angry. How could this happen to me? I was in some of the best shape of my life, having recently lost 30lbs after my pregnancy. I was exercising daily and eating right. But as the doctor began to explain to us the biopsy results, none of that mattered. My life would forever be changed. Between the shock and anger, my mind immediately flashed to my family. How will I be able to care for my baby girl and my family? Although I didn’t know what the road ahead looked like, I knew that I had to stay strong for my girls and my husband.
Ten days after my diagnosis, I was receiving my first chemotherapy treatment. It all happened so fast; tests, scans, and additional biopsies to determine the staging of my cancer and whether or not it had spread to other parts of my body. I went from a clean mammogram in July 2013 to Stage III breast cancer in 27 months. The protocol for my treatment was 12 weekly Taxol treatments, followed by 4 treatments of a chemotherapy cocktail known as the “red devil” spread out in three week increments. After that, a unilateral mastectomy to my right breast with complete lymph node dissection and then 35 days of radiation. An unprovoked war was about to take place in my body to kill cancer by poison, surgical amputation and radioactive burning. Drastic indeed, but it did not break my positive spirit!
Even though I did not get to choose whether or not I got cancer, I do control how I will handle this diagnosis. I choose to fight. I choose to win, and I choose to learn from this experience. I also look to inspire others that will go through battle after me. As a survivor with four young girls, I will forever be an advocate for breast cancer awareness and research funding so that someday not only will we find a cure, but prevent cancer all together. I also look to inspire others that will go through this battle after me.
Veronica Cavazos Bishop
For more than a 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, we have helped usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. By translating our research findings into action, we've seen a 20% decline in US cancer death rates since the early 1990s. Join us to help finish the fight.
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