“Although we still need to run some tests, I think it is clear to all of us that we are dealing with breast cancer.”
These words came from a man I barely knew, whom I had met just an hour before these words were spoken. This man is my breast cancer doctor. His words shattered my confidence and belief in my own ability to live forever. In a single moment, my life flashed in front of me, my plans for the future were called into question, and the happiness I had begun my day with was suddenly and completely overshadowed by these terrifying words.
Who am I, and why am I telling you my story?
My name is Sylvie. I am an ordinary 36 year old Canadian woman. I am the mother of three teenagers. I own my own business and my home is my office. After 12 years of being a single mom, I am getting married in a few days, to the man who is my soulmate, The One I have been waiting for my entire life. Until today, my future was bright and full of incredible promise. And now, I face an uncertain and frightening future.
I have been diagnosed with breast cancer…
I will be using this journal to tell my story, to share the adventure with all of you, in hopes that my story will perhaps help someone else who may be struggling with this as well.
I know I am not alone. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million people will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year worldwide. I am told that the 5 year survival rate for women who develop breast cancer in their 30’s is much lower than for those in their 60’s. I am also told that the overall survival rate over a 20 year period is slightly over 50%.
These are terrifying statistics, and after posting this message, I plan to completely ignore them. I refuse to give them further thought or consideration. They are not important to my healing process. They can only serve to frighten me and make me question my resolve to survive.
Above all, this story is not about how I survived breast cancer. It is about how I beat the snot out of it. It is about the triumph over pain, tears and sadness I am about to go through. It’s about how I, and my family, stared into the face of fear and said “Get lost! I don’t DO fear!”
I decided to deliver my story in real time, as it happens, in this journal. This is my therapy, and my way of sharing the story in its raw, unedited form. It is my hope that other people who encounter difficulties can read this and gain strength from knowing that they are not alone.
It isn’t just for breast cancer survivors, and it isn’t just for women either. It’s a story of one woman’s experiences with life’s hurdles, and how ordinary people can become extraordinary heroes in just a few brief moments when life brings unexpected change. If you’re wondering, when I say hero, I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about the people in my life who are my heroes. I’m also predicting that there will be many surprise heroes along the way, people who seem to come out of the woodwork when they are most needed. People who would never call themselves heroes, but they are, nonetheless.
This is the story of how my life changed in one instant, and how I am going to make this new life better than it was before…