Hi, My name is Jackie Woodie, and I am a breast cancer survivor of 5 years.
In July of 1999 I went to see my primary care physician because my left nipple had become introverted and I was having shooting pain in that breast. I had a girl friend that was a breast cancer survivor of 18 years that kept telling me the good news was I was having pain, which usually meant no cancer. I went down to have my mammogram in Palm Desert, CA. The breast care clinic there does takes care of everything at once. If there is something suspicious, they look further into without you having to go back to the doctor. When you leave the clinic you know there is nothing in the breast, or as in my case, you have an appointment with a surgeon. When I met with the surgeon he told there was a 70 per cent change that I had cancer. When we did the biopsy, I was awoken by a nurse and the Doctor to "Jackie, you defiantly have breast cancer". The doctor continued to talk, but to this day I have no idea what he was saying. He absolutely took my breath away. I was 45, I had a 2 year old daughter, and I had just got married in June. This could not be happening, this was not real. All I wanted was to get into the safety of my home. When I arrived home, my best friend was there, along with my 19 year old son. I sat down in my chair and my friend said "Well"?? And then I took her breath away, along with my son. We had no way to know the roller coaster ride we where about to take. This took me places I never knew existed, physically and mentally.
When I went back to see my surgeon, he told me basically it was not a big deal. He was going with a pre type biopsy report, not the full report. There where some things said that did not make sense to me. I got a copy of the biopsy report, learning what everything meant, what stage my cancer was, what the DNA factor was, and all the other factors of my biopsy. I took the report and saw my primary care physician, who was a country doctor that had retired after 30 years as a OB/GYN. He looked over the report and told me if I was his wife he would tell me to have a mastectomy. Then I got a second opinion of a surgeon that had done some surgery on me, and he told me the same thing. So, I made the decision to have a mastectomy. After my mastectomy I start chemotherapy. Everything that could go wrong, did. I thought I was at the end of my life. My veins collapsed and I had to have a catheter put in to take my blood and to have my chemotherapy. My white count went blow 500 every time and I had to have painful shoots 3 days in a row. I ended up with a staff infection from the catheter and in the hospital for a week. I did not ever think this was going to come to an end, this is how life would be to the end. I was wrong. It did come to an end. In April of 2000, I was told I was in remission.
Then came the mental change came. My life was not what I wanted it to be. There where things I wanted to accomplish that I had not yet done. I was living in a small town, had been there for 10 years on Social Security Disability for depression. All of sudden I could not breath in that town. There had to be more to life than this, and I wanted to experience it. This new husband turned out not to be what I thought he was, and to make a long story short, he was drunk, went to hit me, and hit my 4 year old daughter in December 2000. In January 2001, I packed a moving truck and my daughter and I moved 5 states away where my grown children lived. I got a job with the largest retailer in the world in their information division, and I have gotten off Social Security. I like what I am doing, and none of this would have happened had I not had breast cancer. Watching my sons' get married, I thank God for being there to see it. Watching each of my grandchildren come into this world, I thank God I am here to see that. Not only was it a blessing to be alive, it was a blessing know that I really could have missed all this and what a gift God had given me. Some of life's greatest moments are taken for granted when you have not faced a life threatening situation. Everyday is a gift. All the good things that have happened leaves a feeling of "Wow, I would not have experienced and/or appreciated that had it not been for having had breast cancer", and I have truly thanked God for having had breast cancer.
In 2004 I had 5 lumps developed in my right breast with a type of DNA that was like a pre-cancer. It put me at a greater risk than I already was in to developed breast cancer in my right breast. When the last lump developed, my oncologist and my surgeon and I decided to remove my right breast before anything had a chance to developed. That was in October 2004. Society puts a lot on the body, especially women, and their breast. This last Christmas as I watched my daughter get excited over what Santa left her, and as I watched my adult children and grandkids open their presents, and we shared our meal together, I thought this is well worth loosing both my breast. I am here sharing and building memories. And that is what matters the most. I am 51 now, I take my daughter and my grandchildren down and get our pictures taken at least once a year. I know that tomorrow may not come. The country song "Live as if you are dying" says it all. It says "I hope you get the change to live as if you where dying". It is a blessing living with the knowledge that this could be your last day. I would not have this blessing had it not been for my breast cancer. I do things I would not have done, take changes I would not ever taken. I don't put off some of those things that we can forget to do, like go down and have your picture taken with the kids.
Finding out I had breast cancer and my treatment was hell, and recovery has taken me into heaven right here on earth. Not that life is perfect, life is life, and it continues to happen regardless of past experiences, I just appreciate it more and I would not change any of it for anything.
May God bless you.
Thank you, Jackie Woodie