I was so surprised when "The Oprah Winfrey Show" called last week and wanted an update on my battle with breast cancer!
After talking with their producers, I decided to visit our TV station's web site and that's when I realized I haven't updated my diary since August 16th, 2001! That's almost 3 years!! I decided it was time to put an update in my diary - so people who check it know what's happening with me.
Where do I begin? I supposed I should take you back to January of 2002 when I decided to have my ovaries removed. It was a tough decision, but I was having severe cramping and "complex" cysts every cycle. Apparently, the Tamoxifen was trying to suppress estrogen - and my ovaries wanted to make estrogen - and pain was the byproduct! Because I knew I was at increased risk of ovarian cancer due to the breast cancer and having children wasn't a problem (I have 21 frozen embryos) - I decided to have them removed. The less estrogen floating around my body the better!
I thought the hot flashes were bad before- shew - those were nothing compared to what was to come. I was put into immediate surgical menopause - and learned what hot flashes and night sweats really are! Of course, I couldn't take any hormones to help so I had to find a way to cope. I learned to place fans everywhere in my home - and at work! There isn't a room I visit that doesn't have a fan I can turn on in a "flash!" I even have a fan on my desk at work - in the dressing room - and a hand-held fan behind the anchor desk! You would be surprised how many times I grabbed that little cooler in the middle of a reporter's story!
That was two years ago! I still have hot flashes - but they aren't as often or as severe (or perhaps I've just become more accustom to them!)!
As for my health, I am doing fantastic! Menopause changed my body - it takes more work to stay in shape (but I guess age does that too!). I kept my hair short for quite a while, but under the insistence of our consultants, I decided to let it grow out. I was told it was too matronly, and needed a little pizzazz - a trendier, younger look! To my surprise when I told my closest friends they said "Yeah, I can see that!" I was shocked to find out they too thought it - but didn't have the nerve to tell me! Now - my hair is shoulder length, long layers, and lots of fun to mess with! I am so glad I decided to let it grow out. It takes about 3 times longer to fix it though (any hair day is a good hair day - any hair day is a good hair day! I must remind myself of that often!!)
As for my family - a lot of changes there! My little girl is almost out of kindergarten - she's already reading chapter books (brilliant child!!)- and my husband just retired from the Air Force after 22 years! He's now hoping to get a pilot job with Southwest! He's already interviewed - now we wait for word! We know that his job, like my cancer, is all in God's hands, and whatever the future holds, God knows what He's doing! I am still anchoring the noon and 6 p.m. news at KSAT - and loving every minute of it! Blessings, blessings, blessings abound in my life!
As time goes on, I don't think about the cancer quite as often. I still have doctor's appointments every 4 months or so. On those days I do get a twinge of fear. Fear that the tumor markers will go up, fear a lump will pop up. I would also be lying if I didn't tell you lingering coughs make me think of cancer - and any sudden pain in my chest area brings the "C" word to mind.
I am sad to say I have lost several friends who were also battling breast cancer. I wonder why them? Will mine come back? If so when? It's been almost four years now - and I am grateful to God for every day of every month of every week I've had with my family! I work hard to fight off every negative thought and replace them with wonderful memories of the time I have already had here on earth. I remind myself that I'm here today, and I cannot let myself worry about what's to come! I must love life every moment that I have - and have faith that I am cured!
I have also noticed that since I have gone public with my battle, several other news anchors around the country have also publicly battled breast cancer. They too have journals on their station web sites. At least two I know of have recently died of breast cancer. That's always a reminder, a jolt of reality, that breast cancer is a killer and we must all continue to fight hard to eradicate this disease. I am hopeful, though, that by the time my daughter grows up there will be a cure!
I promise not to wait another three years to update site! Tune to "Oprah" on April 20 - that's when the update about me will air!
Thank you so much for all the wonderful letters, e-mails and prayers! It is because of that support I have done so well! God bless