In July of 2013, my husband Joshua and I heard the words “You have Cancer.” We had been married less than a year. I don’t remember much after that. Everything was a blur. I just knew in my heart that our lives would never be the same again.
I have three children from a previous marriage, but Joshua does not have children of his own. After getting married, we felt very strongly about having a child together – easier said than done. When I gave birth to my third child in my twenties, I really thought I was done having children. I chose to have a tubal ligation that would prevent any future pregnancies. Now, almost twenty years later, I found someone I so desperately wanted to share the experience with but, unfortunately, did not have the ability to do in the traditional way. Because we felt so strongly about sharing this experience together, we began looking into other options.
Through research, testing, and many consultations, we decided that in-vitro fertilization would be our best option. We embarked on a very long, physical and emotional journey, talking to our grown children, making lots of overnight trips to a facility in Denver (because we do not have a facility closer with the technology), and saving for this very expensive procedure.
For six months, we ran back and forth between Denver and Grand Junction for lots of tests and consultations. We were down to actually scheduling the final procedure, hoping that in less than a month we would be pregnant!
There was only one more test to complete for the official go ahead – my annual mammogram.
Let me back up a little. Two years ago, I visited my family physician about a lump in my right breast. He ordered a mammogram, and upon review decided we should remove the lump and do a biopsy just to be sure everything was okay.
Joshua was so cute, he wanted me to know how much he loved me, and he planned along with my kids, to propose to me a week before my surgery was scheduled. There we were engaged to be married, and I was headed for surgery (a routine procedure, nothing to worry about) to remove a lump.
After the surgery and the biopsy, I talked to my doctor and he assured me that everything was fine, just a benign cyst. YAY! However, my doctor did recommend that at my age, I should start scheduling annual mammograms.
Back to present. When the mammogram was ordered as part of my in-vitro process, I thought to myself, “Wow, a mammogram is a breeze, soon we will be pregnant!” I can’t tell you how excited I was! We were so close to sharing this amazing experience together that nothing else even crossed my mind.
But, this time was different. During my mammogram, the technician said she noticed something different from my last one and the doctor would be consulting with me. When the doctor sat down with me to review what was “different,” he said they noticed a small cluster of spots or “cluster of stars” as I call them. He assured me that this was nothing to worry about – I was young and had no family history of breast cancer.
However, they wanted to schedule a biopsy, just to be sure. We scheduled for that same week. After the biopsy, Joshua and I sat down with the doctors and they explained that I had Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS) Stage 0.
I embarked on a new journey of tests and procedures. I had a lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy, followed by six weeks of radiation. Fortunately, my cancer was diagnosed early and was very treatable. I am now cancer free and in remission, returning to a schedule of annual mammograms.
Our journey to better health has changed our lives forever. We put our baby plans on hold with the new goal of becoming healthy, together. The window of opportunity is shrinking, but we still have hope that someday very soon we will be sharing our baby experience. Only this time we will be healthier, happier and more thankful for the journey.
Candy is a member of the St. Mary’s Cancer Survivorship Program. For more information about this, click here.