Survivor Story: Deborah Huber

At my annual exam shortly after turning 35, my doctor suggested I have a baseline mammogram.  At my exam at 40, he suggested I begin to have annual mammograms.  That mammogram at 40 led to my breast cancer “triple negative” diagnosis.   Early detection is the key!

I’ll admit the time I consider “when I was sick” was hard – physically and mentally.  My life revolved around doctor appointments, surgeries (2 lumpectomies without clean margins so mastectomy with reconstruction), and physical limitations.    The day my doctor called to say I needed the mastectomy, I thought “I’m not doing this anymore.  I’m done”.  In reality there could be no quitting.

My first Race for the Cure was 06/04/2005, weeks after that surgery.  As I slowly walked, I was surrounded by my family and many emotions.  Crossing the finish line was symbolic and I remember not realizing tears were streaming down my face.  Participating in the annual race remains a time of reflection.  Now when I cross that line, I celebrate the blessings in my life.

That said, nine years later, my life is fuller, happier, and I’m stronger than I have ever been.   When faced with a challenge, I remind myself compared to “being sick”, this is easy.  The diagnosis forced me to evaluate my priorities, perhaps for the first time ever.  Instead of chemotherapy, I chose life style changes (diet, exercise, prayerful mediation).  I recognize how short life is so it’s important to live in the moment and find pleasure in all things – sunsets, laughter, family, long walks – as well as the importance of balance.

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