This Breast Cancer Survivor Blog was written by Guest Blogger Becky Bressie
My Name is Becky Bressie and I am nearly a Breast Cancer Survivor! Wow, let me take a minute to let that soak in. I am 38 years old lying on a table when the doctor says, “I am 99% sure you have breast cancer.” These are not words I thought I would ever hear, and I didn’t know how I would react to something so life changing. I remember everything and yet nothing all at the same time. I remember it was my mother’s birthday, February 25th. I remember a poster of a frog on the wall, yet I couldn’t remember most of what the doctor said to me after the word “CANCER.” What I do know, is leaving the doctor’s office with a step by step planning packet for Breast Cancer.
Welcome to this blog and my story, let’s rewind just a smidge. It is Super Bowl Sunday, and the thought of my assistant’s mom and her battle with Breast Cancer entered my mind. I thought, “Wow, what a young age to battle Breast Cancer”. When we returned home, I was in the shower getting ready for the day and I thought let’s see if I can feel anything in these girls of mine. I began to poke around and was surprised by what I felt. What?!?! Not believing what I had come across, I felt again. Same outcome, same reaction. What?!?! I then resorted to my husband feeling for the same thing, in case I was just going crazy. He feels it too!! My mind was on a roller coaster of thoughts and conclusions. Then I told myself that it was nothing, and it will all be fine.
Let’s circle back to the top. I am leaving the doctor’s office with a step by step planning packet for Breast Cancer. It wasn’t nothing. It wasn’t fine. It was Stage 2 Breast Cancer. After I got the diagnosis, I thought my life had turned upside down. Just the emotion of telling my kids was overwhelming. I began the journey. Which starts with what I have come to know as “The Cancer Schedule of Doom!” Endless tests, procedures and appointments. The poking, squishing, x-rays, shots, liquids, nurses, doctors, assistants, questions, answers, forms, . . . “CANCER!!”
Now, it is without saying that everyone handles this type of life changing event in different ways. I would have a sad day with thoughts of why me, denial, and even anxious thoughts of dying. I had those days and I deserved to have them. Then you wake up the next day and put your big girl panties on and go into battle mode. I am a pretty dominate personality and extremely competitive. I looked at this as game on, get your dukes up, fighters to their corners, I was ready to get a plan together and figure out how to beat this. If you are a mother you feel the responsibility of beating this not only for yourself but your entire family. I remember thinking, “I can do this, I have to do this, and I will do this.” I have become an actor on a stage with the spotlight always on me. Everyone’s eyes are turned to me too find out how I am coping through this life changing battle.
I have been humbled and blessed by the outpouring of support and generosity from family, friends and my community. I am very independent and very much prefer to do things on my own and how I like to do them. I have learned quickly that those closest to you feel helpless in the manner of making me feel better. I have let down my guard and realized it is not a sign of weakness to allow others to pour into my life and help, but yet a sign of great strength and commitment to focusing on the battle at hand. Why? Because, I needed the help, but also because that is a way for others to deal with their emotions and feelings towards the situation. Sometimes the people that love you have a harder time dealing with this than you do. They have no control or answers so they want to do what they can, like bring dinner and scrub the floors. If you are part of a family it is not just your cancer it involves everyone.
I have four children; they range in age from 19 to 11. Three boys and a baby girl. Telling my kids that I have cancer is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. When my 12 year old boy looked at me with elephant tears in his eyes with the fear of losing mom, it ripped my guts out. From that moment on we decided life was going to be as normal as we could make it for the kids. That is what they need. I went through chemo while my oldest son graduated, travel baseball, my husband’s business trips, girl sleepovers, birthday parties, family gatherings, and I participated when I could and I rested when I couldn’t. I think back now about times I didn’t want to get out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday morning to go watch my son play ball, but it was motivation and I did it. Those were the type battles that made me feel I was winning. I was not going to see those elephant tears again.
I can’t take all the credit for my strength during this time. I believe in the power of prayer, and I know that I had many people praying for me. That too is what kept me going. When I had my first MRI or what I like to call, “The Torture Tube,” I was lying face down with my boobs hanging in holes and having to lie perfectly still for 45 minutes. Let’s just say I had some time to think and pray. I was so scared in that tube and I remember thinking, “God why did this happen?” Right then a great calm settled over me and I could almost verbally hear the words, “Relax, and know, this is just a story to tell”. It gave me the chills. I get them every time I think about that moment. Thinking and knowing that my God is much bigger than Cancer or any other obstacle. I know He has a plan and I am the leading role. I can honestly say I have never worried since that moment. Pain, exhaustion, weakness lead to some pretty bad days but I haven’t worried. My husband has struggled with the question of why as well, but told me what God had laid on his heart. He said that I was bearing this sickness for someone that did not have the strength to battle for themselves. God has given me the confidence that this is truly “just a story to tell.”