Three women - My mother, Joyce Kelley (1933-2006), mother-in-law, June Baty (1919-1966) and me.
I never met June. She died of breast cancer at the young age of 47. Treatments were much different then. I don't know what she went through.
My mother, Joyce was diagnosed in July 2002, just as I was getting ready to leave on deployment (Navy). My husband moved from California to Oklahoma to help care for her. She was in remission by the time I returned in May 2003 (deployed for 9 months, 10 days). Less than 18 months later, her cancer had returned and spread to her liver and lungs. By November 2005, it had spread to her brain. She passed away February 11, 2006, six days before her 73rd birthday. The three dogs in the picture were her constant companions (two of them were my dogs!). The blond dog (Betty) spent all day, every day in the bed with mumma. Her dog, Sadie (black), crossed the rainbow bridge a few months after mumma. We scattered her ashes on mumma's grave.
Fast forward to September 5, 2017. I received a call that I had breast cancer. The only reason I had gone to have a mammogram two weeks earlier was because my right breast would NOT stop itching. It was almost constant. My cancer was in my left breast. My right one hasn't itched since!
I didn't get upset, didn't cry, didn't get mad. I wasn't the first, nor would I be the last. It was a fact of life that needed to be managed. From diagnosis to surgery was 49 days. I had what I refer to as a mild case - Stage 2, no chemo, 33 radiation treatments - and I now have a sets of tatas for a 30 year old on my 62 year old body. As I have told countless people - where my boobs used to go down and meet my stomach, now my stomach has to come up and meet my boobs!
The largest hurdle I had to overcome during my entire diagnosis and treatment was the 5.5mm kidney stone that landed me in the emergency room three times in less than 3 weeks. I passed it two days after my last radiation treatment.
I told everyone what was going on. In return, I received a tremendous amount of support and found out how many of my friends had already traveled down this road (breast cancer and other cancers). In the last two weeks, one of my supporters lost her battle.
A friend who works at Mayo Clinic in JAX participated in 2018 - and said I should participate in 2019. I'm so excited to be a part of this adventure. If you want to join me, come on. I would love for any and all of my friends to take over JAX. What an impact we could make.
Cancer needs to be eliminated!!!