I never wanted cancer. I didn’t want the free boob job or all the attention. I didn’t want to see the expressions on my son’s faces or the sickness or the pain. I didn’t choose cancer, but cancer choose me. In turn I chose Doctor Barone.
In January 2012, three major life events happened: I moved from North Carolina to Ohio, my mother in law passed away and I found a lump in my right breast. They always tell you to listen to your body and I just knew this was not good. Two weeks later I had it biopsied and it was cancer. Here I was, away from my friends and family, home alone and the cancer choose me. My doctor was sweet, with my husband out of town he offered to have his family take me out to dinner so I wasn’t alone. Although I was thankful I didn’t feel like eating. I am the matriarch of my family. How was I going to tell my husband Doug and what would I tell my two boys. Although, grown men, they will always be my babies. I didn’t know my prognosis but how could I tell any of them that I could be dying.
I never worried about losing my breast or breasts for that matter. I cared about kicking cancer’s butt and evicting it from its home in my body. I knew one thing for certain, I did not want to die and I was not losing this battle. I began my journey with that decision. I continued it with millions of doctor’s appointments. I had a mastectomy and then, I again, listened to my body and got a second opinion on my reconstructive surgery. See, I was in a depression, I had five months of chemotherapy, a poison they drip into your body to kill the cancer. But chemo, it also makes you feel like the living dead. I began to cover up mirrors, I didn’t want to see myself. I lost self respect because I felt my beauty was gone. Half of my womanhood was gone, I was a shell of who I was. I tried to laugh through it, I called myself the “unaboober” and would tell my sons and husbands I was fine. But the truth was, I was sick all of the time. I could not work, I could not shop, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Now, if you know me at all you know not shopping is like the sun not shining, I was losing who I was.
Then the journey took a turn when I met Dr. Barone and his staff. My body told me to look for a new doctor and instead I found much more. Through these warriors, I began to feel whole again, pretty again, and I felt like me again. Dr. Barone and his nurse Susie and all the other wonderful staff gave me my confidence back. They made me feel good about my looks. My new boob, my new improved cancer free boob, is incredible. My husband laid by me and held me and supported me through all of this. He told me I was beautiful when I covered mirrors and felt less than but even this great man loves the new me and thinks every woman should look like me!
There is not a day that goes by that he does not tell me how pretty I am and thanks me for taking care of myself. In this aspect, he means for me wanting to be my best me, a woman who respects herself and her body. This is not vanity this is a commitment to being happy and healthy so that we can have as many years together as possible. Dr. Barone gave me hope back into my life when I did not feel l had much left. This great doctor and his staff made me whole again. I did not choose cancer. Actually I hate cancer. But I beat cancer, cancer did not beat me. Every day I deal with the side effects of chemo, but I would take it one hundred times over to be able to hug my husband and spend time with my wonderful boys in the new and improved me.