We think hearing about other experiences helps us understand their perspectives and their take on life situation, for Pink Month we wanted to bring you this special interview from one of our VZLovers:
Chloe is an incredibly courageous survivor, in this interview she speaks about her experience being a working mother/wife diagnosed with Breast Cancer and what helped her find strength during this journey.
Tell us when were you diagnosed and how old were you?
I was diagnosed in march 2014 and I was 53 years old
How was the cancer initially detected? (i.e. through a BSE, a CBE or an annual mammogram)
In April 2014 I discovered I had a small bump on my right breast, while doing a self exam. Every year I get a mammogram so immediately I reached out to the doctor, we did some scans and we found out about it.
How did you feel when you first received the news?
It was a very big impact, it’s very strong news so the first thing is that I felt was the extreme awareness of mortality, it’s scary and you think about your family too.
Is there a family history of breast cancer?
No, there is no cancer background in my family, my aunts and my sisters haven’t had any type of cancer. My mom had a long healthy life and she died when she was 92 years old, but there is no history of any type of cancer within my family.
What daily activities helped you during this process?
Mmmm daily activities, I think praying, praying helped me a lot. I was focused on doing everything the doctors told me to do and looked for praying and meditations to find myself while being on this journey.
Did you have a support network? If not, how did you overcome it or find it?
I didn't have a specific support group! I met some people that had gone through some type of cancer, but the biggest support group I had was my family, my daughters, my husband, my sisters and friends! I think in these cases you get to see your family and friends show up for you and that's beautiful.
In addition to this I think it was fundamental that I was working in a pharmaceutical lab and during this time I had total support from the company, that was incredible because I was able to take care of my health while having an income.
Did you face any obstacles during your treatment process? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?
Well, I didn’t see it as obstacles, I tried seeing it with hopeful eyes, and I dedicated myself to search for hope during the process, because it’s not easy, but everything that was happening I was getting through it with love and determination! More than obstacles, I saw it more as opportunities.
Tell me about your treatment process.
I would say the first thing is surrounding yourself with good doctors that you can trust and my oncologist, gynecologist and my oncologist surgeon were crucial during this process. I first went into chemotherapy, that was a very difficult and hard process, and I added alternative medicine; I went to an alternative doctor that is very close to my heart, and he practiced energetic healing.
I was doing Chemo every 21 days from May to October, I lost all my hair and after I had surgery because the tumor had shrunk they could remove it and then we did radiotherapy. It’s a hard process but you have to have hope and faith, I think you need to surround yourself with love and that helps you get through it.
What was your biggest parenting challenge during cancer treatment and into survivorship?
As a mother my daughters were 19 and 20 years old when everything happened. It’s very hard, I think the hardest part about it is thinking about your children, my eldest daughter was with us and telling her was very impactful, because you never want to see your kids suffer.
My youngest daughter was away when I got diagnosed, and we hadn’t told her but I think you have a connection with your children so I think she knew something was a bit off, the day I got surgery to place a catheter for the chemo she kept calling and texting to see if I was okay because she had this feeling that something was off.
I think as a mother you want to get the experience seeing your children grow and that’s the main motivation to fight through this process.
What message would you like to provide women in the community?
The message I would give women is to check up on their exams, identify your body and be aware of it. But I think the most important thing is that we are so strong, we are fighters, we are courageous and that we should not be afraid, if we have a situation like that we go through it, hope is the most important part and believing is always a good motivation.
As an online community we know that is important to highlight Chloe’s journey, her incredible strength makes us admire her and we wanted to shed light on one of the many similar stories of women that fight this battle, teaching us that women are real superheroes.
If you want to let us know about your experience and thoughts feel free to comment or reach out via social media, remember that you’ve got a friend in us and keep on conquering the world!