In my 33 years of life, I’ve worn many hats. I’ve been a student at Pflugerville High School, Texas A&M University and Tarleton State University. I’ve been a high school teacher for 12 years, as well as an assistant principal. I’ve been a wife to my husband, Justin, since November 2007, and am a mother to two beautiful children.
But there’s one hat that I never imagined wearing — breast cancer survivor.
Three years ago, I received a shocking diagnosis — stage I triple negative breast cancer. I was 30 years old with no family history and had negative genetic markers, including BRCA 1 and 2. It was during a routine annual exam that Mark Beaird, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest, discovered a small lump. After undergoing several tests, the results came back positive for breast cancer.
How my care team became my family
Given my age, I was concerned about two things: survivorship and fertility options. At the time, my son was almost 3 years old, and my husband and I had been planning on trying for our second child very soon. My team at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest made that as much of a priority as I did. They allowed me time to extract and preserve pre-chemotherapy eggs in the hope that after my cancer journey was over, I could see that dream become a reality.
I don’t know how else to describe my doctors, nurses and support staff better than that — family.
After a double mastectomy, reconstruction, port implantation and egg extraction, I began eight rounds of chemotherapy which lasted nearly eight months. Within that time, I gained a family. I don’t know how else to describe my doctors, nurses and support staff better than that — family.
Most people don’t look forward to cancer treatments or check-ups, but I did. Not because of how chemotherapy made me feel but because of how my team made me feel. I was supported, loved, understood, prayed over, cherished and encouraged. I actually struggled more after finishing my last treatment because I had to learn how to find my new normal.
But even after treatment, they were still there to help me through my next stage in life.
It has been more than three years since my breast cancer journey and yet I still feel lifted up by my entire care team.
In 2016, Justin and I began fertility treatment but were faced with some tough news. We were told that children were probably not an option for us due to the severity of my chemotherapy.
But despite what we were told, my medical team continued to pray and lift us up, along with so many friends and family members. Then, in November 2017, our prayers were answered — we found out (quite shockingly) that we were pregnant. And in June 2018, we welcomed a healthy and beautiful baby girl into this world with the help of Dr. Beaird.
The delivery of our miracle baby came full circle for us. Not only did Dr. Beaird deliver both my son and daughter but he also saved my life. Now, looking back, we both marvel at the miraculous journey we’ve been through together.
This blog post was contributed by Bonnie Latham.
If you’re looking for resources to support your journey through cancer, Baylor Scott & White Health is here for you.