My name is Elisa and I am a 12-year breast cancer conqueror. I never expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer especially since I have a large family with no prior history.
In August 2004, a few months after my annual wellness exam, and much to my surprise, I noticed a lump in my left breast during my monthly self breast exam. I immediately contacted my doctor and completed a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. One week later, when I was preparing to take my one and only child to her freshman year of college, I received my diagnosis of breast cancer. That was the hardest week of my life. I tried to be joyful and enjoy such a great experience, yet I was struggling internally with the uncertainty of my future.
After a lumpectomy, I began my first chemotherapy treatment on October 1st, ironically the beginning of breast cancer awareness month. My treatments consisted of several months of chemotherapy, almost 8 weeks of radiation, and 1 year of prescriptions. Though I felt I had come face to face with my mortality at a young age, I immediately turned to my faith in God to strengthen me through all the challenges I would face. I found strength through my daily fatigue in this scripture from the bible: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. In spite of my faith, there were moments of fear. I was concerned with whether or not I had a future and what it would look like. In prayer I found strength, and with God’s help I would conquer cancer.
I was blessed to have my very own band of hope within my family and friends. They supported me and kept me focused on my healing and recovery. During my journey, I refused to stop living and took on a very demanding project within my healthcare profession. Working reminded me that the patients and hospitals I supported needed me and that I needed to keep living. Today, my message to all those faced with this journey is to keep living, have faith and conquer cancer!
I have been a supporter of Susan G. Komen since my diagnosis in 2004. I’ve never been fond of the color pink. Today, I wear pink proudly to encourage others to keep the faith, keep fighting and keep living. Our community of Warriors represents amazing strength and courage. Together we can find a cure!