I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor: Elizabeth Weyman
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2012. I had allowed myself to become lax in getting mammograms because I was essentially the poster child for healthy living. I didn’t drink or smoke, I was a vegetarian, was active, and nobody in my family had breast cancer so it was easy to push off getting a mammogram. When I finally went in for my mammogram the doctor said it was “probably nothing” but required a surgical biopsy. I’ll never forget sitting in my surgeon’s office a week later and hearing her say “you have breast cancer.” I had a lumpectomy, but thankfully the cancer was small and early stage. I had surgery and then began radiation treatments.
Except for the fatigue, my treatment was relatively easy. I have a number of friends who have had breast cancer, so I know how fortunate I was to not have to go through chemotherapy. Seeing my incision for the first time was difficult though. I was told I could remove the bandages four days after my surgery and it never occurred to me that it wasn’t a good idea to be alone when I did it. Even though surgeon was wonderful about explaining the extent of what had been done, I still wasn’t prepared to see what was under the bandages, and how much of my breast was missing. Thankfully, the next morning I got the call from my doctor’s office telling me that the biopsy showed that the tumor margins were clear and the lymph nodes negative.
There were many things that helped me through my journey. Much of my support came from my faith, my wonderful husband, my family and my friends. I also received a prayer quilt from my church and I had Otto, a Beanie Baby orca, which helped me through my treatments. I knew I had the love and support from those around me, but it was also special to have tangible items to hold and bring me comfort. I never gave up hope through this; from the moment I received my diagnosis I decided that I wasn’t going to be scared and I wouldn’t lose my sense of humor.
I have become a proud supporter of Susan G Komen Northern Nevada and all the good they do for breast cancer patients. I didn’t need financial assistance with my own treatments, but I have met many women who did. Komen helps these women with their regular mammograms, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The journey is difficult enough on its own without dragging along the extra baggage of financial worries. I will never forget the advice I received from my good friend, neighbor, and fellow survivor, Jackie Daly; she told me to be proud of my scars and let them remind me of how tough and courageous I am. The silver lining is that now that I have gone through this, I am able to give help, encouragement and support to others who are just beginning their journey.
Story by Pypeline Editing
Photo: Elizabeth Weyman (left) & Jackie Daly (right)