When I found out that I had Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, fear set in immediately. As my husband describes that period of our lives, “the wheels came off.”
What felt like a typical life of going to work, driving children to and from school, cleaning the house and walking our dogs turned into utter chaos. We ran from one appointment to the next, while trying to manage the side effects of my treatments and keep some semblance of normal life.
For us, this cancer had come out of nowhere. There was no lump, no tumor and no warning.
Fortunately, after that “cancer truck” hit us, there were many family members and friends there to help pick up the pieces. I remember going to a bible study class with a friend titled “The Armor of God,” where I learned the importance of putting on His “armor” each day for my battle. I immediately realized that while I was learning to live with cancer, those around me were, too.
From there, my army grew. Together, we figured it out. Together, we managed cancer and its side effects, while still keeping the toilets cleaned, the floors vacuumed and the lunches packed.
Over time, however, things calmed down, and family and friends went back to their routines. Our lives appeared “normal” on the outside again — but everything inside of me was far from normal.
I found myself just sitting there wondering, “Who am I now?” I looked very different, I felt different and above all, I viewed life differently. After all, doctors had given me three to five years to live — how could I ever be the same?
During my cancer journey, my sister and my mom gave me a bracelet that read, “Love > cancer.” Little did I know the day I put that bracelet on for the very first time, that mantra was going to become such an important part of my cancer fight.
I am surrounded by love. Love from family, friends, co-workers, doctors and the cancer community. Their love keeps me fighting, keeps me positive and keeps me hopeful. And that little bracelet reminds me daily.
I started an Inflammatory Breast Cancer support group because I want to share this love with others. I do not want any person fighting this alone. Some days, a simple hug is enough to get me on my feet and walking again. I want to hug these men and women in their fight and wrap them in support and hope, as my friends and family have done for me.
If you or a loved one is fighting cancer, know that you are never alone and always remember that love > cancer.
This blog post was contributed by Jennifer Cordts.
The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Peer Support Group meets every first and third Tuesdays from 11:30-12:30 p.m. at the Cvetko Patient Resource Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. For more information, call 214.820.260
Explore other cancer support groups available through Baylor Scott & White Health.