I'm Not Just Surviving, I'm Thriving!

Greetings! My name is Tammy and I am a stage 3 infiltrative ductile breast cancer survivor! I was only 32 years old and ready for my second year working as an assistant principal in an elementary school when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The first thing I did after my diagnosis was call my surgeon to determine how far the cancer had spread. Unfortunately, my tumor was large and there was lymph node involvement. Next, I went to the bookstores and online to learn about treatment for my condition and I found that there was an aggressive high dose treatment which might be an option for me. Then, when I met with the oncologist from the cancer center at the hospital at which I was diagnosed, she said her prognosis was that I may live for 18 months with some minimal treatment she could give me. Luckily, I had done my homework and sought out better care. The second cancer center I went to offered me the aggressive high dose treatment I was looking for. All together, I had 8 high dose chemotherapy treatments, a bilateral modified radical mastectomy with auxillary lymph node dissection. It took about a year for me to make it through all of the treatments. I do have lingering side effects: I can’t have reconstruction, I have mild lymphedema, I have short-term memory processing issues and I have hormonal issues and I can’t take any hormone replacement therapy because my cancer was estrogen positive. However, I haven’t had any recurrences, I get to enjoy each day as the seasons change and I get to enjoy creating art daily. I have no regrets for any of my medical decisions that I have made and I am thriving having new and exciting experiences in my second life!

Tammy Dishner
Bridgewater, VA

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