Monday, February 2, 2009

Mom: Join the Fight

This year, hundreds of thousands of people will hear the words "You have cancer".  On May 16, 2008, I was one of them.  I was driving to work on Friday and I received a call from my doctor telling me that I had breast cancer. It was one week before Chris and Christy’s wedding. Instead of being able to focus on seeing everyone and celebrating Chris and Christy’s wedding, the only thoughts in my head were “I have cancer”.
Starting on Monday of the wedding week, my days were as follows:
Monday – meeting my breast surgeon and learning that the cancer was Stage 3.
Tuesday – meeting a plastic surgeon describing how he could rebuild my body after having surgery.
Wednesday – having an MRI and PET scan.
Thursday – paying a visit to the oncologist who taught me about the chemotherapy.
Friday – the wedding.
Tuesday of the next week - I had an ECHO, a heart check, to see if I was strong enough to tolerate the chemotherapy. Wednesday – I had a small surgery to insert a port into my chest for the chemotherapy.
Thursday – I had chemotherapy counseling.
Friday, I had my first chemotherapy treatment, beginning the long process in my journey to treat and beat the evil, fast growing cancer.

My doctors are truly angels! Miracle workers I call them. I want to thank them for the work that they do. They are Dr. Stephanie Akbari, Dr. Steven Davison, Dr. Mary Wilkinson, Dr. Jeffery Moulds, and Dr. Keith Belote. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring team of physicians to help me fight this horrible disease.

I also want to thank my amazing niece, Brooke Brandt, who you all know as the infamous “Beandip”. She gave up four months of her life to take care of me during the chemo and to nurse me back to health after the surgery. She never left my side during this time. She is also an angel on earth!

Thank you to my sons, Chris and Tanner, who are my whole life and the reason that I have the strength to fight this disease. I am so proud of both of them. They are outstanding young men. I want to be around to see my grandchildren and to be a part of their lives. There are many more family, friends, and students that have helped me to have the strength and courage to make it through each day. Thanks to all of you!

I have been through four months of chemotherapy, surgery - bilateral mastectomy, and 28 radiation treatments over the past eight months.  I still have two surgeries to go - reconstruction to try to rebuild my broken body. I know that these treatments would not be available without the help of the money raised for research of this horrible disease.

We have all been touched by cancer in some way ... and we all have the power to make a difference. That's why I have chosen to fight back right here in my own community by participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life®. I have been involved with Relay since 1996 and I never thought that I would be one of the survivors.  I always did it for others.  Now I know firsthand more about this disease and the treatments than I ever really wanted to, and I am a survivor.  We need to find a cure!

I want to invite you to join me in the fight against cancer by making a donation in support of my efforts. You can make a one time gift or increase your impact by donating monthly.  Every amount, no matter how small, makes a difference and provides hope.

The Relay For Life® brings more than 3.5 million people from across the country together each year to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.
Thank you in advance for your support. Together, we will celebrate, remember, and fight back.

Nancy Cooley – Cancer Survivor – eight months.

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