Hope Lives Ambassadors
Hope Lives invites people who are dealing with breast cancer and either are or have been in active treatment to become ambassadors. As an ambassador, they speak to the community about Hope Lives, share their personal story, and share how Hope Lives services and care have enhanced their lives while going through treatment.
Age of Diagnosis: 65 Stage: 1
I found the tumor on our anniversary; March 3, 2018. I went to the doctor right away and she said this doesn’t feel good. I had a mammogram, testing, biopsies. I felt fortunate that all of the technicians were upfront with me and told me they felt it was cancerous before sending the biopsy off.
I had my surgery at Banner Fort Collins and then decided to try Porter Adventist in Denver. I stayed with my friend, April, through August and did my chemo in Denver. I missed Northern Colorado because I hike almost every weekend even in the winter time, so I really missed it. Denver made me feel claustrophobic. I missed NoCo so much I returned and to do my radiation treatment.
I’ve continued to go back-and-forth between the Front Range and Denver. Leah was so kind and helpful working all of that out. I really appreciated her patience because she needed to navigate around my schedule and travels between the two locations.
When I first learned about my diagnosis, I thought I had one of the easier cancer diagnoses. Then I saw the oncologist. He said those factors are good, but you have estrogen receptive positive, levels 3 and 4 -some of the worst - a really bad active form of cancer as well as a very high reproduction rate within the tumor. Lumpectomy compared to a full mastectomy was so much simpler. I had mentally prepared me for radiation and then all of a sudden, I needed to have chemo. There was a lot of discussion between the docs and I asked whether I really needed it. I only had 4 sessions that were needed.
I was very underweight when I started chemo. My life circumstances were quite a blow becoming another concern. Yet I was so blessed! I didn’t have a lot of nausea. I didn’t gain or lose weight either. I believe everything you can count is a positive through this health experience. It was a blessing that I held my weight. I am in awe of the doctors, nurses, and receptionists who deal with this every single day.
During a healing touch session with Lori I learned about the Hope Lives program, its value and benefits. From the initial orientation with Leah I felt it was a worthwhile experience. She made the program feel true and important, coming from someone who knows. I discovered Leah really knew what she was talking about. Most of the things she suggested made sense and would work for me. The Comfort Kit given as a gift to each program client provided items needed for a cancer patient. I used every single one!
Leah made me realize one of the biggest personal treasures was keeping a journal (one of the Kit items) and that was very helpful for me. I was so nervous during my first chemo treatment because I’m very sensitive to meds and usually my docs give me child doses of meds. I thought chemo is really heavy-duty stuff, so I was really nervous. It isn’t fun but better than I thought. I wrote in my journal and read those notes in my journal the 2nd time and that was very helpful to see and review. I continue to journal to help me with review for my doctors… so very helpful.
The blanket (a quilt) that I received along with my Comfort Kit made me feel like Linus. That blanket went through everything with me! It was soft and I have sensitive skin anyway and chemo gives you more sensitivity, so it was very nice having things like that blanket that was always with me. Leah gave me a lot of valuable information.
I used vouchers for Lori with positive visualizations before each chemo treatment and I feel that had a huge, positive impact. Before the last one, I was able to mentally walk myself through the positive visualization on my own which was a huge help.
I’ve always had very pale, sparse eyebrows and I saw that Leah had hers microbladed. The last few years and during the cancer treatment, I’ve started going losing hair. I so appreciated the eyebrows microblading and wig!
I felt so vulnerable and at moments like that knowing that Leah was there made me feel so empowered. Peggy and Mary are always so cheerful. I could walk in here and felt like I could be myself here and not look out for other people.
One of the reasons I’m honored to be an Ambassador is because of the staff at Hope Lives. They helped find a way to ease my path and I’d like to have the ability to provide that same pathway for others going through what I’ve been through.
I feel the impact Hope Lives makes in the life of a breast cancer patient is huge! I’m now a thriver! I want to share how the Hope Lives program has helped me with anyone who will listen!