Ms. March's story is lovingly sponsored by Bill and Carol Downey
The theme of A Calendar to Live By 2023 is In Her Own Words. All 12 women who grace its pages have honest, inspiring stories written in their own words to share with readers -- as well as words of advice for other young women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Read on to get to know more about Ms. March 2023.
Ms. March 2023 | Diagnosed at 35 (2020)
I was diagnosed with bilateral Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in March 2020 at the introduction of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had worked as an RN in the same Women and Infant Unit for 14 years. I had a double mastectomy, five months of chemotherapy, and seven weeks of radiation and received tremendous support from my family, friends, and co-workers. I connected with Here for the Girls because the support starts to fade after completion of what most consider the hard part of the cancer journey, but in my mind, the hard part was just beginning, and this was how to move on and survive and thrive after cancer treatment was over. For me, there were still reconstructive surgeries in the future, monthly injections, daily oral medication, and twice-yearly IV infusions, these are constant little reminders that the journey is far from over. The H4TG support group has been a great way for me to step out of my social comfort zone and connect with fellow survivors and work together to navigate the ups and downs of surviving breast cancer. My group was the driving force behind me finding the courage to follow my heart and apply for a position at the Cancer Infusion Center where I received treatment. Covid-19 restrictions had prevented my family from accompanying me to oncology appointments and chemotherapy infusions and I felt so blessed to have the most caring Infusion/Oncology team as my support. They inspired me to want to take a new career path as an Infusion Nurse and I felt it would be rewarding to make people facing cancer journeys feel the love, care, support, and compassion that I felt from my Infusion Nurse and Oncology team. I never considered myself a strong woman, but I find truth in the saying "You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." I feel I have come too far to live in fear, so I am trying to live for each moment, find joy in every day and thrive as a breast cancer survivor.
ADVICE: Step out of your comfort zone, try new things, meet new people, and follow your heart.