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Quality of life, not quantity of life is important

In 2002 I had a three centimeter lump removed from my breast, and they took out all 27 lymph nodes. I am a conqueror rather than a survivor.

In 2002 I had a three centimeter lump removed from my breast, and they took out all 27 lymph nodes. The biopsy proved that there was no cancer in any of them. That is why I opted not to do the chemo or Tamoxifen although the doctors wanted me to. I have never had lymphedema.

I breezed through my radical modified mastectomy because for many years I had also suffered as an alcoholic and the alcoholism that, to me, was a way worse disease than the breast cancer. I am a recovering alcoholic who also came from a very abusive relationship.

I decided to get breast reconstruction but waited a whole year after my mastectomy to have it done. As I was very flat chested anyhow, I opted for small C-cup breasts and I am now a 36 C.

Unfortunately, I am overwhelmed with night sweats and hot flashes, and cannot even get a decent night’s sleep. Because of breast cancer, of course they will not give me any hormones for my menopause. I do take the over-the-counter Estroven which I am not even supposed to take, but, I was sick and tired of feeling miserable all the time. I decided that quality of life, not quantity of life is important and I do not live in fear of recurring cancer.

I work out 45 minutes every day, and, although I’m not supposed to, I lift way over ten pounds. At age 54 I am in good enough shape that I can still go out into the ocean and surf, and I feel it is wonderful that I can also surf and roller skate with my grandkids if I want to. I am in great shape for my age with a great tight butt and good strong legs, and I am told I have a figure that is even better than most teenage girls.

My husband is a building inspector and at times I work at home on my own computer doing transcribing. I love to type and I would love to be getting more and more typing to do, but I am being patient as it is all coming together. With my night sweats and hot flashes, I don't think I would do well working outside the home during the day, and besides that, I keep myself free to take care of our ten grandkids when any of them need help.

I also have an elderly mother who is not too understanding or supportive of my breast reconstruction. She feels that I don't even deserve to have a vacation because she is too old to enjoy life… so, why should I?!! Now that I am sober I understand more, particularly why I lived in abusive relationships. My mother is a very emotionally abusive person, and when I was a teenager I was anorexic and lost my periods for five years. My parents did not care. My mother is very stingy because of the great depression, and she hoards all kinds of money that, if she chose to, could help out family members in need. But she is too stingy to help. So, now that I am recovering from breast cancer and alcoholism, my elderly mother is more of a burden and not a blessing, but, that is another story. I refer to myself more as a conqueror rather than a survivor.

Desma Jones


some resources:

  • American Cancer Society presents everything you need to know to cope with cancer and its effects
  • Cancer Care Inc. is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free professional help to people with all cancers through counseling, education, information and referral and direct financial assistance.








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Updated  05/15/2010