Cancer Will Not Consume My Life
BY Regina Cooley
PUBLISHED March 16, 2017
Editor’s Note: This piece was submitted by a contributing writer and does not represent the views of CURE Media Group.
In 2005, I moved to St. Louis from Alabama. It sure was an adjustment for a small-town girl to go into a big city. And this was not just for my job! The same day, I found out that I had triple negative breast cancer. I took God's hand, which took me to St Louis to Mercy Breast and Cancer Center. He led my way to being cured. He was the hands, eyes and feet of the help I needed.
I went through eight rounds of adriamycin cytoxan and taxotere like a champ! I was one of the lucky ones who never got sick. I had successful lumpectomy followed by 33 radiation treatments.
Ten years later, I got the all clear, but then less than two years later, my old scar was bothering me. So, I went in for a regular scheduled mammogram, and that's when I was told I had stage 4 metastatic breast cancer with mets to the spine. This time, I'm ER/PR+ HER2-; it’s a totally different cancer. I don't have the BRCA mutation, and it's not in my family. It’s just that a bad hand of cards had been dealt again.
The hardest words I ever had to hear were, “I cannot cure you, but we can control this.”
I have had 3 PET scans, which were all clear. The last one was in January.
On Feb. 21, 2017, I was driving to work and things started happening. I've never ever done acid or mind-alternating drugs but from what I've seen on TV, this was as close as it gets. Jesus took the wheel and let me make it to work where I fell out and had two seizures that were caused by a metastatic tumor that had formed on the right side of my brain. It had to go.
I was given another chance the doctors did surgery removed the 3 cm tumor from my brain. I woke up on the operating table and said, “I've got this,” and moved myself from the operating table to the gurney. I think I stunned the whole team of physicians who just performed brain surgery.
I guess what I'm saying is: don't give up— fight this head-on. My life, and many like mine, consists of scan, treat, repeat! I'll take it! I'm also in a mission to help fund research to make this a chronic disease where we can all expect to live long lives. Pink ribbons are sweet and they do represent breast cancer, but I'll never get to ring the bell this time or have glitter and crown placed on my head. I had no idea what metastatic breast cancer was until I heard the words. I'm working on bringing Metavivor to St. Louis. This is a support group for patients with MBC, and donations go to research treatments and trials so we don't have to watch many men and women die from this. I chose to live my life happy and I'm even a little tacky at times but that's my healing. Laugher is so much better for the mind body and soul than letting the cancer consume your life. If it does, it wins