I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor: Sharon Knudson

I was in my car headed to work when my doctor called to say it was cancer. Once I heard the news, I kept driving. The first person I told was my boss and I refused to go home, as I didn’t want to sit there by myself while my husband was at work. I had no idea how to react. That was November of 2008. My surgeon was confident that a lumpectomy would suffice, but after the pre-surgery sentinel dye test, my gut told me otherwise. I elected for a total mastectomy. The surgeon removed my left breast and 15 lymph nodes.

Thus began my journey through treatment and recovery. The following 18 months included chemotherapy and an additional seven surgeries. I was fortunate that I did not need radiation. However, I still lost my hair. One of my most difficult days was the day my hair began to fall out—in clumps—while in the shower. I had no alternative than to have a buzz-cut. I never imagined myself without hair, but there I was, staring at a female version of my younger brother. It was a little spooky. I selected a stunning wig, and my granddaughter Natalie thought it was very cool that I could take my hair off.

In November 2009, I had a suspicious citing on my mammogram, which resulted in a surgical biopsy one year to the day of my first surgery. I was terrified. The night before the procedure, my oncologist called me to see how I was doing. He said, “It’s not cancer, ‘til they say it’s cancer.” He also assured me that he had pumped enough poison into me over the previous year to deter even the teeniest bit of cancer! The biopsy was negative, and I was able to continue on my path to recovery.

I elected to have breast reconstruction surgery. During the process, I questioned my decision to have it done. However, I am glad that I did and I am at peace with all of my decisions regarding treatment and recovery. I thank God for the love and support of my family, my friends and the breast cancer community. I was able to endure the most difficult time in my life and come out feeling stronger than ever before. I believe cancer has given me a second chance.

I am honored to be a survivor, but more importantly, I want to be part of the fight to remove breast cancer’s devastating impact from present and future generations. I got involved with Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure as a way to give back to the breast cancer community. I am a survivor.

Story by Pypeline Editing

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 Sharon Knudson