I am 52 years old, and healthy. I have 2 daughters, ages 20 and 23. I'm married to a man I love with all my heart. I have 2 step children, one is 25 and one is 22. I'm about 5' 1' tall, and slender. I have 2 young dogs and 2 elderly cats. And I just had a mastectomy.
I have been a teacher for 23 years. I teach high school age special education. I specialize in career education and transition from high school to adult life. I love my job, my colleagues, and my students. I also love education and learning. I am an ongoing student of computers and technology, which is a foreign country to me - but fascinates me. I love swimming in warm ocean water and snorkeling. I just learned how to stand up on a surfboard. I live in a cold climate and I love the snow, although I'm not too fond of freezing weather.
I am a runner. I started running later in life, at about the age of 35. I ran my first marathon at age 46, and then 2 more marathons at age 48. All were in Boston qualifying time. But I don't run for the races. I will never run the
Boston Marathon. I love to run for the joy of it. Although I discovered it later in life, it is one of the few of things I feel like I was born to do. When I run, I feel like a pony. I feel a boundless freedom.
I had my first bout with breast cancer in 1999, when I was 41 years old and a single mother. Thank heavens it was in a very early stage, and not invasive. I had a lumpectomy (actually, it took 3 surgeries to get "a clear margin") and radiation. It was painful and scary for me and my girls, but as time went on, it became a distant memory. I got used to the shape of my altered breast, and life went on. I got married again and life became a wonderful adventure. I put the cancer behind me and thought I was done with it. It rarely entered my mind at all.
11 years after my first diagnosis, I had an annual mammogram. And there it was again. In the same breast.