Written by Marcy Howard
PARAGOULD, AR Oct. 21–Being told that you have breast cancer is a life changing moment. Your heart drops and your mind goes in so many directions, but calling on God in these times of trouble will help bring calmness and peace in your life. I am Marcy Howard (Shatley), and this my breast cancer survival journey.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, 2018. I had two lumps in my left breast. My gynecologist sent me to a surgeon to have a biopsy done. The results came back, and I was diagnosed with Lobular Carcinoma in Situ (LCIS); however, the lumps were benign. The surgeon explained that this type of cancer is really hard to detect and hard to diagnose because the only way physicians find it is when they are looking for something else. He also explained that if a patient has LCIS in one breast, it’s likely that they have it in both breasts, or it will eventually develop in the other breast. If it wasn’t for getting the biopsy on the benign lumps, I would not have known I had cancer.
The doctor later found that the LCIS had spread into my lymph nodes, so I had developed Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. My treatment options were either to take medicine that blocks the estrogen for 5 years and hope that it didn’t spread any further or to have a simple bilateral mastectomy.
After hearing this news, I went home and cried and prayed. My family and my boyfriend, my now husband, were there for me, but I felt alone and so scared. I didn’t know what decision I needed to make. Cancer runs in my family, so this really put me at a greater risk of developing a more invasive cancer. I prayed and talked to God for weeks, and the decision became clear because I knew God would be with me. I made an appointment with my oncologist and told him that I decided on having the mastectomy. The surgery was a success, and I did not need chemo, so I am now cancer free!
After beating cancer, I decided I wanted to go to college, so in 2019 I registered at BRTC, and they welcomed me with open arms! I am living a dream I have always had. Having cancer will wake you up and make you realize that life is only for a moment, so be kind and live your dreams.
Finally, I want to say to all the women out there and even men, please do self-examinations regularly, and if you have any concerns, please talk to your doctor even if you think it’s nothing. Start your mammograms as early as you can, and keep going every year. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the better the chances are of beating it. There may not be a cure for all breast cancer, but we as women can fight and be proactive in our health. Lastly, always remember Faith over Fear!
For more information about BRTC, visit https://blackrivertech.org/.