Story by: Erin Frazier on April 2, 2018
My cancer story begins in March 2013. I noticed a lump in my breast, but as a busy pediatrician and mom, I ignored it for several months. Then one night I had a dream I had breast cancer.
The next morning I immediately scheduled an appointment with my physician to have it checked out. I was shocked when the radiologist came in to do my ultrasound and told me she was 98 percent sure I had breast cancer.
The first thing I said was, “But I have three children who need me.”
She said, “Don’t worry, we caught it early. You will be there for them for years to come.”
I was only 38 years old and had no significant family history of breast cancer. My children were ages 3, 5 and 7.
Shock, anger, fear, concern
Every person diagnosed with cancer deals with it differently — there is shock, anger, fear, concern for family members, among many other emotions. There is the unknown as you wait for the final diagnosis and treatment plans. Nothing will make you more thankful for life than when you are worried you might lose it.
My breast cancer journey had begun.
I endured 16 rounds of chemotherapy over six months. It was a physically exhausting, emotional roller coaster ride with tears of frustration and joy. I lost my hair but not my sense of humor. My children were resilient with help from my husband. My parents sat with me during every treatment. I had a double mastectomy followed by reconstruction. I went for Herceptin infusions every three weeks for a total of a year. I continue to take daily medication and monthly shots to put me into early menopause and prevent a reoccurrence.
What a survivor looks like
One day after my last round of chemotherapy, my daughter, who was in kindergarten, was asked if she brought something for “share day.” She had forgotten to bring something so she simply shared, “My mom doesn’t have breast cancer anymore.” Her teachers were in tears. I had the privilege of showing my children and their classmates what a survivor looks like.
This May will mark five years since my diagnosis. My now 8-year-old still likes to point out all the pink ribbons he sees.
Since my diagnosis with breast cancer, I have had the amazing opportunity to meet and help guide other women through their diagnosis and treatment. They are so thankful for the support, but it is me who is blessed. They help me remember to not sweat the small stuff and how special life is.
I am grateful for my physicians, nurses and the science that saved my life. Unfortunately, there are still too many women and men with stage 4 breast cancer. There is still no cure for them, which is why it is so important for us to continue to raise support and awareness.
Dr. Frazier, a pediatrician at Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Broadway, is the honoree of the 2018 Derby Divas event, a special night of shopping, fun and friendship to benefit the Norton Cancer Institute Breast Health Program.
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