I met Terri through a care service for babysitting and dog sitting. I was looking for a dog sitter for the times we have to go out of town and we can’t take our little furry guy with us (the dog, not the kid-hehe). She has dog sat for us several times and loves all of our animals as if they were her own. She takes such great care of them that I am shocked they are even interested in us when we do get back home.
Shortly after she started pet sitting for us, I emailed her about availability with a sad response back saying she had just found out she had breast cancer and would be starting treatment. Hold the phone. What?! I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I am sure she probably couldn’t believe what she was typing, either. I assured her everything would be ok but to make sure to let me know if there was anything I can do.
Sometimes, it’s hard to find the right words to say to someone in this position, but in reality, you don’t have to say a lot other than you’re there for them and thinking of them. Support is the only way to make it through and have a positive attitude….even if it’s from people you don’t know all that well. Knowing there are people who have your back and are thinking of you during times like these are the little things that make a big difference.
Terri had Breast Cancer- Stage I. She found out at her annual mammogram. The one she almost skipped. She was due to get one in February and pushed it off and thought she wasn’t going to go, but some reason made her go in June and she went with it. It’s a good thing too because they had mentioned to her that if she had gone in February, it would have been so small that they probably wouldn’t have even picked it up.
Having lost her mother and brother to cancer, Terri knew immediately upon finding out that she was not going to let it take her, too. Numbness took over, but strength and confidence rose above. Her husband Doug, her main support system along with her son and daughter in law, sister, friends, and various other family were there for her, trying to be strong. There comes a point where everyone breaks down a bit though through this and Doug had his moment a while after the initial diagnosis, which is hard for anyone.
Surgery was July 29th 2013 and then 6 weeks of radiation. Driving to Annapolis every single day for a 5 minute treatment and then the drive back. Radiation can be tough on some and not as tough on others, Terri wasn’t one that was as affected through that process. She has a 25% chance of recurrence but per a doctors recommendation, she opted out of a Chemo treatment and though it was a hard decision to make, she felt confident doing so.
When I talked to Terri, who is similar to me with the advice section of these questions because she feels as if she was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to suffer or be burdened with too much pain, but she did offer this. Being positive is number 1. Being ready to fight and being positive was her goal, attitude is everything. As for the caretaker, or the spouse (she took care of her mother as she was fighting her battle as well) is to be strong for them and be present. It’s hard to watch them go through something so difficult and lots of things can bubble up, but you just have to be there for whatever they need, even if it’s just to yell or talk about nothing.
Terri is one of those people that I believe would give anyone the shirt of her back. She is so kind, so open and honest, and so strong. I am grateful to know her and to have spent time hearing her story. Thank you Terri or so openly sharing with me in your home and for taking care of my animals anytime we needed you. You are so loving and genuine and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you, your family, and that adorable little grandson of yours! We are all so thankful that you are clear and in remission and doing so well- here’s the the rest of your life, to being happy, and to enjoying that wonderful family you have! Cheers!