We all have a life journey and more than not, an unexpected event changes the path of your journey. I am Liz Stevens. I am a Christian, a wife, a mother, a Mimi, a daughter, a sister. I was diagnosed with Stage IIA estragon + Breast Cancer in March of 2009. I did have a mammogram when I turned 40; it was negative. In August of 2008, I discovered a small lump in my breast. Unfortunately, the OBGYN I made a visit to told me, and I quote, “You are over 40 you had a mammogram last year. Because of your age it is only fibrocystic stuff. It is nothing, you do not need a mammogram.” If I only knew then what I know now I sure would have walked out and went and found me another doctor. The lump grew and–at the insistence of my loving husband–I went for a mammogram… even though ‘doctors know best.’ The path of my life changed in a blink.
You have breast cancer
Those words came in a stabbing nightmare of horror. There (of course) is no easy way to say it; it must be said, but until you hear those words directed at you, well, you just cannot imagine how it will feel. My amazing husband, Kevin, has been at my side since that day as we took the journey and fought and beat this monster which is breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, lymph nodes removed, 6 months of chemotherapy. I beat breast cancer in 2009!! I was a survivor!!!
Fast forward 6 years to July 2015. I began having a nagging discomfort in my sternum. My first thought was, this could not be anything, I mean, I survived breast cancer. I made a visit to my primary care doctor, who said, “Oh, it is only nerves going back… that can be painful. My husband and I did not feel right about this answer and made an appointment with my prior oncology surgeon. A PET scan reveals the unthinkable. Stage IV breast cancer. This time it took my husband, children, family and friends to help me off the floor. Yes, literally… I went to the floor over the shock and grief of such devastating news; so did they and we all got back up together. I had no idea I could or would get breast cancer again. I did everything I was supposed to do to rid my body of all the bad cells. Only 30% of those who survive breast cancer have a recurrence; go figure. I visited my oncologist every 6 months, but cancer came back and came back very angry. My skull, my L1, my L2, my spleen, my sternum, 2 of my ribs, my liver, my abdominal apron. I was a very sick survivor to say the least; and I was afraid. Our youngest son was only 1 year old at the time and he needs his mommy is all I could think. No option but to turn it all over to God and attack with all the spirit and medicine available. And that is just what we did. I say we, because a survivor does nothing without the support of those who help her fight when she doesn’t have the strength to fight alone. Women Rock, Inc. is counted most lovingly among those who have helped me to fight and I am blessed by their support; they help me to know I am not alone.
I am now 2 years into this life journey of metastatic breast cancer. I have had multiple changes to my chemotherapy drugs and face more in my future I am sure, there is no cure. I am a Thriving Survivor! I have endured soaking my hands and feet in ice water during treatment to not lose my nails, lost my hair 3 times now, had allergic reactions to chemo drugs, nausea, pain and discomfort through 65 doses of chemotherapy so far and it is worth it. I am currently in a clinical trial and the results of the trial drug on the cancer within me is proving positive. The progression of cancerous lesions has stopped or lesions are showing significant shrinking! We have great hope! I journey this path for God’s glory, not my own and He sustains me.