On July 31, 2011, after a routine mammogram, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. Two months later I underwent a bilateral mastectomy. The support I received from family and friends was truly mindboggling. I felt so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life, whether it was food delivery or taking my kids for the day, the help was there. It was a true blessing during my recovery.
Looking back I realize how much I struggled with some of my feelings. Although relieved I didn’t have to go through chemo or radiation, I felt I sense of letdown. I felt my cancer wasn’t bad enough to complain. I felt I had to stay strong and remind myself how much worse it could have been.
After 3 1/2 years and 5 surgeries I have realized that it is OK to feel sad and mourn your loss. Yes, all cancer struggles are different, but they are all real and all painful, no matter what the extent of the disease is. Today I do not feel bad that I didn’t go through chemo or radiation. Today I feel happy and strong that I am here to take care of myself, take care of my family and enjoy what life has to offer.
I ride at the Tour de Pier to support those who continue to fight their cancer battle like my stepfather Don Redman and brother-in-law Lucas Friendt. I ride for those who cannot fight any longer, like my father-in-law Ron Felt and friend Kory Hunter. I ride to support those of us who have survived and have a story to share.