From Honeymooner to Survivor

Today at The Rising Muse we have the story of author and breast cancer survivor Katherine Bown. Katherine found out that out that she had breast cancer during her honeymoon. Let’s read her story:

In December 2008 I got married when my life was great; I had a brilliant job as a Marketing Communications Manager, I ran website, I had a busy social life – basically I thrived off being under pressure.

Ten days later on my honeymoon I found a lump on my breast, then got diagnosed with an aggressive (grade 3) tumor ( breast cancer). I then spent the 1st year of my marriage going through 18 weeks of chemotherapy and 3 weeks radiotherapy.

When I finished treatment I went back to work but I wasn’t the same person as I previously was, I lasted a year at work and then I took VR – pretty much to search for ‘my purpose in life’ (I’d literally scour the net for ideas; going to change my job, looking at doing charity treks, how I could raise breast cancer awareness, fundraising – pretty much I did anything I could to change my life and give meaning to why the cancer didn’t take me!)

Cancer was a big surprise to me. There’s no history of breast cancer or any cancer in my family whatsoever. I was the first person to go through this journey.

It took 5 months of soul-searching when a friend suggested I set up my own marketing consultancy which I did and has been going great for a year.

I always wanted to write a book, but never knew what kind of book to write. A few months I finally figured it out. I could use my life experience to help family and friends of breast cancer sufferers; explaining in ‘my language’ all of the medical terms, how the breast cancer patient will react in certain situations, the side affects of treatment, how they can help along the way.

I have found my purpose in life, I want to help Mums, Sisters, Best Friend’s, Husbands and caretakers of those dealing with breast cancer. I want to share how important they are to those of us, whom they love, and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, after all I’ve got 1st hand experience at it!

Wow, Katherine! What a story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

If you want to read more about Katherine’s journey and would like more to get her book ‘Your Guide Through Her Breast Cancer Journey’

Her book is on Amazon for just $0.99 and the profits from her sales until 12/31/12 will go towards Breast Cancer Care. I think we can all spare to help.

 

 

 

More about Katherine BownKatherine Formosa Bown

Katherine was born Cardiff, South Wales, UK. She has worked in the marketing field for over 15 years. She was diagnosed at 33 years old with Stage 1, Grade 3 breast cancer in February 2009, after finding a lump in her breast while on honeymoon. She had 18 weeks of FEC chemotherapy, 3 weeks of Radiotherapy and is currently still taking Tamoxifen.Since completing treatment, she has given a lot of her time to supporting and fundraising for cancer research and breast cancer charities. Connect with Katherine on Twitter or Facebook

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My Story of Hope

By Gina Cook

My name is Gina and what an honor to share my story with you. My prayer is that somewhere along the line of my story, you will feel hope and strength. They same time flies when you are having fun. I would like to say time has flown because my life has been a blast, full of laughter and health, yet looking back it is hard to believe that 7 years ago my life drastically changed and will forever be changed because of that moment where time stood still and life seemed hopeless.
Breast Cancer is no respector of persons, it doesn’t care who you are, where you came from, what color, what age or that you really don’t have time for this horrible disease. But here I was at the age of 31 years old and a mother of two young girls and a few days before my youngest daughter Dakota’s first Birthday, I was daignosed with Stage Three Breast Cancer with the tumor being over 3 Centimeters in size. I remember feeling as if I could not breathe and the sting of death was at my door. The Words “You have Cancer, and it isn’t good” was spoken by the Doctor.
My life that seemed so young and fresh with so much ahead, suddenly seemed dark and hopeless. And here in that moment, a new me emerged. I was a fighter and was not ready to leave this world. I was not ready to leave my daughters and my family behind. My purpose on Earth was not fulfilled and I was ready to put my boxing gloves on and fight this horrible Cancer. My brother in law bought me some red boxing gloves and had all my family sign them for me, and I was ready to fight.

Because of my size tumor and it being in three out of fifteen lymph nodes they removed from my arm, I began chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor. Immediately I began three heavy and hard months of Chemotherapy. Throwing up , so weak that I had to hold on to to anything in sight to make it to my destination. As if the throwing up and exhaustion isn’t enough then you lose your hair. What was once long and brown thick hair went to a short cut and then a week later fell out on my pillow as if to say “I’m leaving you too”..For at those moments when you are lying in your bed trying to sleep, you feel alone , alone with the thoughts of “How will I survive this?” Though family and friends surrounded me through this fight, I was still alone with my thoughts . No one could really know what I was thinking or feeling.
There are so many days it would take all my energy to get out of the bed. I would pray for God to give me the strength so my oldest daughter Macayla , who was six at the time, could see me look normal when she came home from school. The masked smile and “Mommy is fine, just tired” hurt as much as the multiple surgeries that I had including a Masectomy. I didn’t want my girls to lose their mom. I want to see them get ready for prom, celebrate Birthdays and holidays and see them get married one day. Yet through all these feelings, my heart still had a song.
I will forever remember that moment when my oldest daughter Macayla was running in the front yard. it was a beautiful day and she was chasing Butterflies that were all out in our front yard. I sat on the couch that was in front of the glass window and watched her. The words began to come to me and I walked slowly to the stairs. I grasped the stair rail and held on tight with both hands . One step at a time, I kept repeating the words in my head so I could remember it “My butterfly, you fly so high. You fly for me. Everything I am not know, you seem to be. My Butterfly take on the wind, fly so high, but come back again. Thank you for letting me see, myself through you. Your everything to me.”. I made it up the stairs and went into my closet. Knelt down on the floor and with my paper and pen birthed the song out of it’s cocoon “My Butterfly”.
For that moment she was flying for me but I began to see myself emerge from the cocoon and able to fly. Not physically but spiritually. I felt “HOPE”. I began to check my calendar off every day and what would be closer to my chemo and radiation treatments to come to end. My chemo treatments went on for over a year followed by radiation, more surgeries and after cancer treatments. On the weeks I did not have chemo, I would go for short walks with the girls, go to the mall for an hour if just to show my girls I could do it. I enjoyed every minute and second before the dreaded chemo stepped up to the box on my calendar.
I loved being around family and singing with my mom, sister and my brother Kevin who played the drums. It was very rare I would miss a church service. I didn’t want to quit singing because it got me through the pain. I began to write more songs and the healing process began. Soon the day came when I would see that all the fighting, pushing, and determination to beat this would come and I would hear the words “You are Cancer Free”. “Free” How appropriate those words were to me. I made it!!
Then there was my wonderful mom whom I don’t think I could have recovered as quickly, she would stay up at night with me, and rock my youngest daughter Dakota to sleep when I was too sick. My mom was my rock!! Through this I have met amazing people, made bonds that can never be broken and have continued fighting this battle for others. I have confidence like I never have before, I am empowered to bring Joy and life to others. I am involved as a volunteer with Long Leaf Hospice and am an avid Fan of running, and now a Zumba fitness instructor. My story is for everyone to see that though the disease is ugly , there is hope on the horizon, a sunset over the mountain that you climb and along the way I pray you feel the hands of God. For remember when you only saw the footprints, He was carrying you.
I want to dedicate this to my daughters Macayla and Dakota who are my Butterflies and will carry on the legacy of giving back and inspire others. They dance for me and continue to amaze me every day!
Hope lives !!

Gina Cook
For booking Gina Cook as your guest speaker/singer at your event contact her on facebook or at gcookn@att.net. myspace/ginacookmusic
Gina’s picture courtesy of “Dawn and Company Portrait”

Thanks Gina for your bravery and sharing with us

WF: Praise you in the storm

This is the last post of September and I wanted to use it to introduce you to some of what I am going to be doing in the next month. October is what I called “Survivor Month”. Why? Because it’s the month chosen for the awareness of two causes dear to my heart: Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer.

This year I would like for you to hear about different things regarding these causes. But this blog is not just for me, if you are a domestic violence or a breast cancer survivor and you want to share your story, please send it to me at therisingmuse @ gmail.com We would love to hear your story of going from victim to victory and encourage those who are still in the middle of the struggle. If your story is chosen to be featured here on The Rising Muse, you will get a copy of my new e-book, The Road Home as my token of gratitude for sharing your story.

And not forgetting that today is Worship Friday, I felt that there was no more appropriate song to worship the Lord with a song that actually talks about us putting our faith in Him through our struggles.

Have a blessed weekend!

WF: Worship Friday

 

clip_image002Aimee is a constant positive influence in Desiree’s life, gently demonstrating God’s love and mercy. Mary Anne Benedetto

Very well written. Emme

I would recommend The Road Home to any romantic, any lover of books, anyone struggling with forgiveness, anyone. Cynthia