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Life Beyond Breast Cancer: Norma's Story

Heather Georgoudiou October 19, 2021

alt textThis year the American Cancer Society estimates over 281,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Each woman has a unique and inspirational journey. Norma, pictured on the far right with her daughter,  was diagnosed in 2002 and shares her incredible story of resilience. 

How were you diagnosed? Did you have any signs or symptoms or have a history of breast cancer in your family?
In 2002 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, the first in my family.  I have always had fibrocystic breast disease which is lumps in your breast so I felt a bit larger lump and decided to go in to have it checked out with a routine mammogram.  I followed up with my doctor which took a sample had it tested and much to my surprise and the doctors it turned out to be cancerous.  So it begins…

What was your treatment plan?
My treatment plan was 6 months of chemotherapy followed by surgery for a breast implant and Tamoxifen for the next 5 years.

When in your treatment plan and why did you receive red blood cells?
During my treatment, I developed a low white cell count which they called neutropenia, the fact that I have always been anemic all my life did not help, so I got a couple of pints of blood to help me get through it all.

Where did you receive support?
The best support I received was from family, friends, church, and community.  My chemo nurses were amazing and so helpful.  People are willing to help you get through this with prayers, messages, reinforcement, moral support, and any means to make you feel better and give you hope.  There are also support groups available through the different cancer programs in the hospital. 

What’s a big lesson you learned throughout your treatment?alt text
Go into this with a positive mindset that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will survive it.  This is just a trial that you’re going thru in life and lessons to be learned from it.  You got this!!  It’s important to know that you’re so much more than this…..

What would you say to someone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer? 
Don’t get overwhelmed, try to take a deep breath, stay focused and positive.  A lot of information will be thrown at you all at once so always take someone with you to your appointment so that they can help you decipher all the information.  You develop such a bond and sisterhood with survivors and someone going thru this trial that you are connected for life……Blessings to you all….

Cancer patients often need blood and platelets to help them with the harsh effects of chemotherapy. You can honor and support cancer patients by donating blood or platelets today. 

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Heather Georgoudiou

Heather Georgoudiou is OneBlood’s Digital Marketing Manager. She is a social media strategist and content creator with a passion for saving lives through the power of digital communications. 

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