Brenda’s Cancer Survivor Story
—Brenda W-L., Uterine Cancer Survivor
Age at diagnosis: 56
I am a “seasoned” citizen (I don’t like to use the word senior!) and retired educator. I’ve never given birth, but I have plenty of children! I’ve worked with children of all ages, from elementary through college, and have been involved in a broad range of positions, including serving as a teacher, guidance counselor, and assistant principal.
I had fibroids for years, but it was abnormal heavy bleeding that led me to see my doctor. I had already gone through menopause, but would occasionally have very, very heavy bleeding. One of these bleeding episodes is what led me to make an appointment with my doctor. I learned that I had cancer in the fall of 2003, while I was at school. I was walking down the hallway, and talking with my doctor on the phone. By the time I got to my desk, he had told me I had uterine cancer. I decided then and there that cancer was not a death sentence.
I consulted with an oncologist and a surgeon. I had surgery in November 2003 to remove the cancer. While nothing prepares you for the pain post-surgery, I was relieved that my cancer was removed through surgery. I didn’t require further treatment. No radiation. No chemotherapy. It’s been 10 years and I am cancer-free. I am glad that I got through it and it’s over, but I also let myself take the time to heal. I went back to work in March 2004. I am blessed that I have a supportive network of friends and family that I could rely upon. I often share my story with folks in my community to help raise awareness.
I encourage women to listen to their bodies. We all have stress, but don’t let that turn to “distress.” As women, we think we need to do it all. Be sure to find time for you; find space for you; enjoy you! Start with self-care and self-healing. If you aren’t well, you can’t do anything for anyone else.