Thursday, March 26, 2015

"My name is Beija B.....

…..and I am a survivor of breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 48 years old in Feb. of 2012 with an aggressive form of cancer which my Doctor had called Her2 positive Stage 1 in my left breast. "

It all began when this beautiful young lady started experiencing pain and tightness in her chest, around her heart in particular. But these episodes were sporadic at the beginning, recurring more often, and with more intensity, as the months progressed. Three months later, Beija came down with the flu. No biggie, but when she found that both were causing her too much to deal with, it was time to visit her physician.

Doing a full work up on her, the doctor saw no concern with her health, although her blood cell count was a little off, this could easily be attributed to the flu. Feeling somewhat relieved, Beija decided she may as well have a mammogram performed. Going home and feeling a little better, both physically and emotionally, Beija decided to stop procrastinating and get current with her mammograms. She had put it off for 2 years because of her busy lifestyle and other health issues.

So the week following her doctors appointment, she had it done. Of course there was nervousness pinching Beija's mind with regards to the results of this scan, but she was more concerned at what she could accomplish with what was left after the test on this Monday.

A mammography was performed, she had tidied herself up and now was waiting in this somewhat claustrophobic room for the nurse to discharge her. Within 10 minutes, the nurse reappeared asking Beija for another scan. She needed a more complete evaluation before this appointment was over. Once finished, and taking a moment or two looking at the image, the nurse requested the doctor on-call to evaluate.

Routine? Must be! Nervous? Of course!

It wasn't long before the image was scrutinized by the professional. As if the world stopped immediately, the doctor "explains to me that the finding on the imaging is a mass that could possibly be cancer. At that point I felt my whole life changing just by him mentioning the word cancer!"

Within a week of that tentative diagnoses, it was unfortunately confirmed through a biopsy. And within a week of that, Beija was on the table being prepped for surgery to remove the tumor that was pushing toward her heart. This explained the tightness and twinges of pain she had been experiencing in her chest. Because of the position of the tumor, Beija was able to decide between a lumpectomy or full removal of her breast. She chose the lumpectomy. As fast as her life stopped from hearing of this cancer, she could now begin to live again. Recoup, regroup and catch up. Two weeks later, a routine scan was performed in order to confirm the success of the operation. That one step forward, took one leap back when two more tumors showed up in the same area.

So back to the table and a second lumpectomy. This time, after a short healing process, the resulting scan showed Beija to be cancer free. But certainly she couldn't rest on her laurels. Her endurance would be tested through monthly chemo and blood transfusions, and it wasn't long before she was feeling, and seeing, the effects of these treatments.

Although she was losing her hair and dealing with sickness and nausea every day, she found strength and love in her "chemo buddies", even exchanging ideas on eating habits that could be tolerated throughout her tenure of treatments. "Even trying to eat a grape tasted like metal."

One of her "chemo buddies" offered pizza as the answer and what do you know? Even though she was still feeling ill, at least she found something that didn't taste like metal. " Needless to say, I had eaten a lot of pizza during my months of chemo!"

Completing chemo, followed by radiation and effects associated with these as well as other physical tribulations, Beija became a survivor.


"All during my cancer battle, I was providing personal care every day and all day to my live-in 83 year old mother Patricia, who had dementia....[I was also a single mother of 12 year old boy Dexter, both pictured below}.....My mother passed away in October, 2013. It was my mother, my best friend, who was the reason for me staying strong and surviving this dreadful disease."

Because of this strength her mother gave her, Beija used this same fortitude to care for her mother until her last breath.

Mother knows best! Mother's intuition! Both adages proving true.

I could sit here and write page upon page of a fitting, and poetical, epilogue to finish Beija's story and some may hit home while others may seem dramatic. But unless you have endured the physical scars of this disease, unless you have become stronger in ways only cancer survivors can relate to, then my words would be general, vague and simply for dramatic purposes. So I would like to end this story in Beija's own words. After all, who is better qualified to write the epilogue to your own story?

"The inability to deal with the after effects that are left behind…emotionally, financially, physically, and even socially. Only to be told you are a 'Hero' from the scars of your battle. The time it takes to rebuild yourself to become stronger. The many medical appointments to be had…just to reevaluate and cure the damage that was left behind. I’m a hero to no one but myself, but I’m a survivor among the many.

I’m a hero to no one but myself.....[although this author lovingly disagrees]

.....but I’m a survivor among the many. "


Anonymous said...

Again, and as usual, we are very inspired by all these ladies and we thank you so much for writing about these wonderful(dare I say) survivors. All gorgeous GORGEOUS ladies.

glorybetothee said...

LOve the story and thank you for continuing on with these stories. YOu are an inspiration almost as much as these lovely young ladies. TY Jim

teresa said...

What a great story. I would love to keep reading these if you have more.