Written by: Megan Volo
Sunday August 25th 2013, I was doing a self-breast exam when I found a lump. We were able to see a Doctor on Monday and they scheduled sonograms and mammograms for Tuesday. Then Wednesday we had a biopsy of the masses they found. On Thursday August 29th we had our answers. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The doctors informed us it was an aggressive cancer and that we would treat with the same aggressiveness. That Friday we met with our surgeon and started making plans. Mike and I had planned a trip to Jamaica and were supposed to leave the following Monday. The doctors told us to go. They told us that 8 days would not make a difference, but as soon as we got home the fight would be on. SO after an amazing week in the sun and sand, we came home to a war. We met with a specialist who stated that a double mastectomy was the best plan of action and that we could also start reconstruction on both breasts at the same time. After we completed removing the cancer, we would complete 6 rounds of chemo and radiation.
So…. many asked how I was doing, and here was my answer… My stance was this. “I was glad that this cancer has struck me and not someone else who did not have the support I had. I have the most amazing support system with my family, friends, co-workers and church, and that is what it takes that to navigate this journey. I have a strong faith that is unwavering and it helped get me through this. Cancer is scary, but I was NOT afraid of the treatment. My body is simply a vessel for my “awesomeness”, and my body does not define who I am. There will be scars, but every person who battles any trial in life has them. Mine will just have an awesome story behind them of how I beat Cancer.” My goal was to fight this with prayer and positivity and HUMOR!
I am looked forward to beating this. As I worked through the treatments, my idea was not to “preach” but to tell my story …when asked… and encourage younger women and men to self-check and to be cautious. I am young if I had not found this myself they would have never done some of the checks for it. I also aimed to make other dealing with this smile. Chemo Karaoke in my room is one plan. All that wanted to join was invited in. T-shirts with the Team Awesomeness concept were made. Parties with balloons and cake were thrown during Chemo.
My daughter and I got our hair cut short together. At 4 years old she thought it was awesome mommy will lose her hair LOL I I thought I may even go outside the box with a red wig! I chose not to wear a wig as it was uncomfortable and I was already uncomfortable. People could just deal with it, I was.
Please don’t confuse my explosion for being excited. I am simply was excitable and stayed that way to find the positives.
At the time all of this hit, I was ready to help others. I wanted to show the love that had been shown to me. I was ready to be a huge part in my daughter, Breanna’s growing up. I was ready to be the supportive wife that had it all together. I thought to myself “this is not fair”. My father is ill, I wanted to be there for my mom , I had a 4 year old daughter that needed her mommy, and a husband that does all he can to support our family that needs me. Then this diagnosis turned my world upside down. I thought to myself, I have so many things to do, I can’t be non-functioning.
I cried, then I had the revelation that it wasn’t my choice. It wasn’t for me to be angry about. God had planned my life before I ever existed, and this is what he had planned for me. Why I am not sure. Was it to restore faith? For me to reach others to show His love? For me to learn about myself and the strength I had through Him? I didn’t know, but I had a choice. I could make this season a pity party or live my life for God. I had to really trust in God and his plans, and that was that I gave it all to him.
Moving forward was quick. Mike and I chose to go with a plan of action to eliminate all of the cancer and reduce my chances of getting it again. It meant having surgery hip to hip shoulder to shoulder. It seemed the storm kept raging. I did not heal well and it resulted in 6 surgeries on my abdomen. The Chemo was tiring and yet I stayed at work full time. Then radiation. What can I say after the 3rd degree burns set us back I felt broken? I would break down, frustrated that I couldn’t play on the floor with Breanna and be an active mom, or clean my own house. I couldn’t hug anyone or help anyone. I was not a person that would give in and ask for or accept help, but I had to learn. I kept everyone updated on my caringbridge.com website. I documented my journey as a “Road Trip.” (please feel free to read the journal entries, it was a blast of a trip) I made it. I was declared in remission September 3, 2015. My hair has grown back and I can look at my past and say I am proud to be a survivor, and Cancer will FEAR me.
Many times I would hear I wish you didn’t have to go through this. My thought was it wasn’t a choice, and in seeing my faith and the ways God has worked through me I would do this again more than once. I would not do anything differently. I would endure every moment again just to see God work in our world.