"Surrounded by Love"

My story begins like many others. In late December 2012, after receiving abnormal results on two mammograms and ultrasound, my husband and I decided to get a second opinion at MDAnderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. We made the six hour drive and after more mammagrams, ultrasound, and needle core biopsy, on January 14, 2013, my 50th birthday, I received the phone call that changed my life and that of my family's. I had stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. It was a very scary time and the beginning of a difficult journey. "Why me?", was a question I never asked myself. I felt that if I asked that question, then I would have to ask, "Why not me?". I accepted my diagnosis and with a positive attitude, fought it head on. After a partial mastectomy, removal of lymph nodes, and 20 rounds of radiation, I have now been cancer free for 2 1/2 years. I will continue to have regular checkups and will have to take a hormone blocker for the next five years. The journey has not been an easy one but, it has turned out to be an extraordinary one filled with many blessings that far outweighed the bad. It was made easier due to my wonderful support system and the numerous prayer chains that were started for me. I know that the overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility that I felt throughout this difficult, yet amazing journey, was the result of all the prayers and Gods presence in my life. My husband, Richard, has been my rock and the person whose faith never waivers. As my niece once said to me, "you are surrounded by love". The most important thing about sharing my story is to stress the importance of annual checkups. There was no breast cancer history in my family, however, my commitment to getting my annual mammograms saved my life. I strongly urge all women to make a commitment to get their annual mammograms and to encourage others to do the same. May God bless each and everyone of you always.
Rosalinda Mendez
Mission, TX