My 5 Year Cancerversary
Today is a big day for me. It’s my 5-year cancerversary, the anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have now been a breast cancer survivor, thriver, warrior for 5 years.
On September 25, 2009 I got the call from the surgeon. My biopsy results, which he was sure would be fine, turned out abnormal. All he could tell me was that it was indeed cancer. It would take a few more days to get the final details.
It was an emotional weekend. I had no idea if the cancer was elsewhere in my body nor what kind of cancer I had. That was the hardest few days of my life.
It turned out I did, in fact, have breast cancer. We caught it early, though it was an aggressive type of cancer – triple negative, grade 3.
Since I was BRCA1 positive, I had a double mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan chemotherapy. I lost my hair, my appetite, and about 20 pounds.
But here I am 5 years later with new reconstructed breasts, my hair is back, my appetite is back, and the 20 (or more) pounds are back as well.
I’m still not completely out of the woods, but I’m getting a lot closer. After 5 years my chances of recurrence drop dramatically. I still have some unexplained minor physical ups and downs, but overall, I feel I’m doing pretty well.
In 5 years I have run two half marathons, helped raise my two sons, continued my private tutoring, managed and wrote for an increasingly popular blog, and learned so much more about living a better, healthy, happy life.
All of this would not have been possible without the support and help of so many family, friends, and doctors. Thank you to everyone who has supported us, in whatever way, over the last 5 years.
If you know anyone having a mastectomy or other breast surgery, these breast cancer recovery shirts are a must-have.
Rachel K. Belkin, M.Ed, is a journalist and writer with over 15 years of expertise in travel, business and marketing education, health, and local Austin, Texas events.
With a Master's degree in education from Texas State University and a Business Foundations Certification from The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, Rachel's extensive background is highlighted by her published works and contributions to prestigious publications, including HuffPost, Hometalk, Matador Network, AP News, and MSN.com, as well as on her own platforms, Rachel K. Belkin, Elkin Bay, and Probe the Globe.
Beyond her accomplishments in writing, Rachel is a sought-after educator, teaching businesses effective marketing strategies and content creation techniques. Notably, she successfully built a blog from scratch in 2008, ultimately selling it for six figures in 2021.
Rachel's commitment to advocacy is exemplified by her role on the Breast Cancer Resource Center Advisory Council, particularly contributing to the success of the Young Survivor Project. Rachel is also an experienced public speaker with appearances on TV segments for Fox 7 Austin, KXAN, and CBS Austin and as a speaker at conferences and professional networking meetings for business owners and cancer survivors.