Our Betsy line of products was inspired by our co-worker and BFF Betsy Medina. Betsy is a breast cancer survivor and a general badass! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to post her story here. We know you’ll love her as much as we do!
Ever have an out-of-body experience? I have…my personal out-of-body experience began the second I was diagnosed with breast cancer on a random Friday in November 2000; November 11, 2000 to be exact.
OUT OF BODY JOURNEY BEGINS — November 10, 2000 (11/10/00) I was scheduled for a 20-30 minute surgery for the removal of an enlarged lymph-node in my right arm pit. “It was no big deal” I told my husband and that he should go to work because my mom could take me, after all my tests results were clean and it’s just a swollen node. After the surgery, I opened my eyes and could see my mom and the surgeon looking down at me, I knew something was wrong – scary, wrong. That’s when the surgeon’s exact words “we’ve looked at the node under the scope and know 100% for sure you have cancer, at this time I can’t say what kind of cancer because your mammogram and ultra-sound results were clean so it could be lymphoma, but because of the location of the infected node more than likely it is breast cancer, we won’t know anything for sure until we get the results of more testing back from pathology”.
I was so glad mom was with me as my head was spinning. I’m not so sure who was more numb, me or my mom, we both cried and she said she wished it was her not me, that was hard to hear even though as a mom myself I’d feel the same way. We left the hospital and went to my parent’s house. My 2 daughters ages 9 and 11 were still in school and I did not want to go home until I told my husband the “unexpected-change-our-lives-forever-news”. I pulled myself together, called him told him that I rested there for the day and could he come pick me up and take me home. When my husband arrived he said he had sensed something was wrong but not sure what it could be. That was the first time that I actually had to say the words “I have cancer” to someone I loved. It seemed harder for me to tell the people in my life that I love, “I have cancer” than actually having cancer. Weird but true. Also hard to realize was the fact that I was inflicting immediate sadness, disbelief and helplessness to the recipients of this horrible news about me.
There was no history of breast cancer in my very large family, I was considered young for this disease as I had just turned 42 the month before, I don’t smoke, and I’m super active and exercise.
I was surrounded by a huge support group that included family, friends, and people I didn’t even know; it was truly a humbling experience. It would almost be impossible to maintain a positive attitude through this ordeal without the support I received.
This positive attitude kept me in check while I made appointments for numerous 2nd opinions, talked to many doctors, other women that had gone through this experience, and searching the web for as much info that I could get my hands on. I had several surgeries, a lot of scans, endured sickness and hair loss from my chemo treatments and then a mastectomy on March 31, 2001. That is when I received the great news from my oncologist that I was finally cancer free.
Currently I have regular check-ups with my oncologist that includes lab work, mammogram, and an occasional breast MRI. Soon I will celebrate 9 years of being cancer free.
All is well with me today. I live my life like I never had cancer… that was the past and I live for today!