My journey with breast cancer began in February 2007 when I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at the age of 49. A routine mammogram saved my life. A very small lump was found on my left breast. When the diagnosis was given to me to I felt like someone had socked me in the stomach. I knew then what was meant by the expression "a gut wrenching experience".
I had an excellent and skilled team of doctors who took very special care of me during my lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. Not only am I grateful for my medical team but the support from my family and friends was truly amazing. During my recovery and treatments, my posse of men (especially my husband) and women cooked meals, ran errands, and sat by my side on a daily basis. I could not have made it through without their love and support.
After I was able to digest the diagnosis I mentally prepared myself for the experience which lay ahead. I decided that there was no benefit to me or anyone else to have a pity party and to think negatively. I needed to maintain a positive attitude during the course of each day and that is what I did. I did not miss a day of work during the entire process, even though some days were harder than others. Before my cancer diagnosis, I was a positive person but through this experience I am truly thankful for each and every moment of each and every day.
Women must be advocates for themselves by getting annual mammograms and checkups. Early detection saves lives. Komen is wonderful organization which supports those who cannot afford proper medical care for themselves. Breast Cancer research must continue so that the next generations will not have to face this disease.
As a survivor I have also found meaning in connecting with other survivors through the Komen Race for the Cure. Knowing there is a large support system of women and men who have been through a similar experience gives me strength and confidence to live my life to its fullest.
The Survivor's Support for the entire Race for the Cure is a special and exceptional experience. The Survivor's Reception on the eve of Race Day provides an opportunity for people to connect and share stories about their personal breast cancer journeys. The sponsors are gracious in their donations of food and items for the event. On Race Day, the special attention given to the survivors is overwhelming and memorable each year. It is a true celebration of life!
(NOTE: Jodi was the team captain for Jodi's Jewels, the second highest fundraising team for the 2012 Savannah Race for the Cure)