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My journey began at the age of 42, after my third mammogram. A stage one ductal carcinoma was discovered. The cancer was removed during the biopsy. To prevent a recurrence, a lumpectomy, followed by six chemo and thirty-three radiations was recommended. Shortly after treatments ended, even though 2003-2004 was very difficult, I returned to work and became a first time college student. I had a sense of urgency. My life was too short not to do what I'd always wanted to; teach elementary aged children.

During 2005, I left my nearly ten year career in banking and became a teacher assistant. Unfortunately, in January 2006, I had an emotional/mental breakdown. I “hit the ground running” without allowing enough "healing" time after cancer.

In August 2007, I acquired a job as a remediation assistant. In December, I had to take a six week leave of absence to remove my ovaries. A non-cancerous, 17 cm growth was on one and a grapefruit size on the other (My uterus was removed in 1998 due to numerous fibroids). I returned to work. In December of 2008 I received my BA in Elementary Education. In May of 2011, while continuing to work, I went back to college for my master’s degree. All the while, I tried to get a job as a teacher. In October of 2012, my supervisor told me I would never work as a teacher in a classroom because I was “sick” and had too many family issues. She couldn’t depend on me.

Shortly before Christmas of 2012, through self-exam and follow-up biopsy, stage-2 triple-negative was confirmed, in the same breast. Following the mastectomy and six chemo treatments I developed permanent neuropathy in my hands and feet. Due to diabetes, reconstruction has been extremely difficult.

My husband commented, “why us”? My response, “why not”? I have not been the bravest survivor lately; still, I am a survivor. I am thankful to my Lord and Savior for my life. This quote says it all: “Life is a Journey, Not a Destination." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bonnie "Bunny" Sutton
Burnsville, NC

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