Meet Michelle. On May 15, 2019 at the age of 35 years old she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) with the classification of Triple Negative Breast Cancer. This form of breast cancer is unfortunately one of the more aggressive forms. From the first day of her diagnosis, Michelle has been determined to fight this beast and has faced this challenge head on.
As a stay-at-home mom of three children under seven years old, Michelle decided the only way to get through this was to maintain a positive outlook with a little bit of humor at times. She lovingly named her cancer “Felicia” because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to say “Bye Felicia”?!
On the eve of her last chemo treatment and her 36th birthday, Michelle reflects on her journey over the past five months:
“I remember the night before my first chemo treatment I was so nervous. I compared it to the night before the first day of school. I knew I would make it through the next five months and had a sense of calm knowing I was gearing up for the fight of my life. I was going to beat this.
It wasn’t a walk in the park, but I made it through and am finishing chemo tomorrow. I will also turn 36 tomorrow, but this year Chemo trumps my birthday. I wish I could say I was ecstatic. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled to not plan on feeling like crap every week, but chemo has felt like a security blanket. I am also such a different person compared to five months ago. I tell those closest to me I wish for that old Michelle back so much. To have that oblivious state of mind is my greatest desire, well actually a cure is my greatest desire. To have that guarantee that I truly beat Felicia and am one & done would be the best birthday gift.
Regardless of all this, I am happy that I made it through and I pray the chemo did what it was suppose to do and this wasn’t all for nothing. It’s the night before and I am still nervous, although I have a feeling that will be my mindset for a while. I will say this journey has made me realize I am one tough cookie. To endure chemo and still wake up each day and take care of these tiny humans has been no joke, but I did it and we have all made it out alive!
I know everyone is excited that I finished this part of my journey and will expect me to be back to normal, but please be patient with me. I have been to war and have some internal and physical battle wounds I will need to tend to for a while. It will get better with time, but this too will be an adjustment. Here’s to a happy and healthy 36th year on this planet.”
It’s hard to believe I have known this beautiful soul for almost 20 years of my life. Not only is she an amazing friend and human being but first and foremost she is a spectacular mother and wife. I can only hope if I am ever faced with a situation such as the one Michelle is going through that I would handle it with half as much grace as she has.
While brainstorming on how to shed light on just how amazing Michelle’s journey has been, I came across this quote from Olivia Newton-John: “I look at my cancer journey as a gift. It made me slow down and realize the important things in life and taught me not to sweat the small stuff.” This has been Michelle’s outlook throughout her entire journey. I know she has inspired so many women and shown them that only they can dictate how they choose to live their journey.