About Me: Female, 57, Merritt Island, FL, member since May 2009
Being A Cancer Survivor
When I looked up the word “survivor” it was defined as, “one who lives through affliction“. When I looked up the word affliction it was defined as,
1. A state of great suffering and distress due to adversity
2. A condition of suffering or distress due to ill health
My name is Bonita and I proud to say that I am a cancer survivor.
It was December 12th, 2003 when I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma. I was in a state of shock. It could not be happening to me! I was the healthy, vibrant, active 47 year old woman who enjoyed life to the fullest. I thought I was healthy because I exercised, ate a lot of steamed veggies and brown rice, fresh squeezed juice, never smoked cigarettes and hardly ever got sick! How could a healthy woman like me end up a sick person, afflicted with CANCER? And I was in love and in the middle of buying a house with my fiancé Gregory.
When I look back at that day it is like a bad dream. I was no longer a healthy, vibrant 47 year old woman, I was a zombie! I went through all the motions, did what the doctors told me to do. Even though I never liked to go to a doctor (I even had both my children at home naturally). February 5, 2004, five days after Greg and I moved into our house, I found myself on an operating table for a lumpectomy. I prayed they would not find any cancer cells in my sentinel lymph node but they did. I had to have a full lymph node dissection, removal of 16 lymph nodes. I prayed I would not have to go through chemotherapy but I did. I prayed I would not have to have radiation on top of chemotherapy but I did.
I remember the radiologist told me that the radiation would be a piece of cake compared to the chemotherapy, well he was wrong! I wondered how such a thing like radiation could possibly be good for you. I never even liked to get x-rays from the dentist! The doctors all assured me that is was not only good for me but it was necessary because I chose a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy. The radiation was needed to kill any cells that the chemotherapy may not have. Since I was a zombie, I went through the motions 5 days a week for 6 weeks.
I remember I not only bald, I was in great pain. I had to take pain pills three to five times a day, and a sleeping pill to get me through the night. Even though I was a zombie I still had to put on my Bonita mask and continue to work full time as a Realtor and be a desirable fiancé to Gregory. I wondered at times if I would ever be able to be the Bonita I once was. I remember showing properties in the heat of the summer wearing wigs and trying to pretend I was not a cancer zombie. I soon found out that the Florida heat and it’s well known humidity levels, wigs were not comfortable. I was constantly worried people would know it was a wig or it would come off if I did anything active like boating, swimming or biking. While going through those tough times I had a design and pattern for a unique two in one headscarf I had for years from my “hippy” days. My best friend Lori took my design and sewed me several of them to match my outfits and bathing suits. Not only were they cool and comfortable, every time I wore one I got at least one compliment, or someone inquiring where they could get one. I knew in my mind that if I ever got through this tough time I was going to do something with my design. But I was a zombie, and I just had to go through the motions and hope and dream of better days ahead.
I am happy to say after all of the adversity I went through I am a true survivor. After going through my last chemotherapy and last radiation treatment I realized I needed to make some changes. I went to the health food store and bought some great books. I learned that I needed to change my body chemistry to be more alkaline instead of acidic. I started juicing and changing my diet. I started drinking shakes in the morning made with unsweetened juice with a dab of flax seed oil, fast food enzyme powder, greens powder, B-12 powder and frozen unsweetened frozen fruit. I stayed away from dairy and sugar and red meats. I started exercising again. The best thing that came from these changes is that I was able to get off the pain medications and sleeping pills. I slowly started feeling like Bonita!
Cancer is a life changing experience. Now that it is over I can look back and see that I have emerged from the zombie I once was to a woman more full of life than before. I am looking forward to marrying Gregory the man who is a cancer survivor himself. I have filed my patent and I am going forward with my dream to manufacture my unique fashion headscarf the ABonita Scarf. I want woman going through hair loss to enjoy them, as I did as well as the active woman as I am now.
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