I am a breast cancer survivor. I had a mammogram every year once I turned 40 and 6 months after my mammogram (I was 41) I was in the ER being checked out for heart problems. My heart was perfectly healthy but during an MRI it was discovered a tumor growing in my right breast. The next day I had a mammogram, then an ultrasound, and a sample taken right then. I was told they would have the results back the next day but I didn’t get the call until Monday morning confirming my worse fears: I had breast cancer.

I was informed I would be having a lumpectomy in 2 weeks and once it was determined what type of cancer I had and how advanced it was, these two factors would determine my treatment plan. And so I waited. I tried to act as if everything was fine but I could only focus on wanting to get the cancer out as soon as possible.

Two weeks later was surgery day and I woke up from the drugs to see my mom standing over me smiling from ear to ear, “It was only in the breast. It hadn’t metastasized and it wasn’t in the lymph nodes.” The surgeon came in and went into more detail regarding the surgery, what they discovered, and what I could expect going forward. Stage II breast cancer but it had not spread beyond the breast. It had all been removed during this surgery.

One week later I visited my oncologist. He laid out the course of treatment: 18 months of chemo, 6 weeks of daily radiation, and 5 years of medication. He also stated: “Based off of the growth of the tumor, it not being in the lymph nodes, and not attaching to the rib cage, you are stage I but because of the tumor size you are stage II and I really recommend us treating you as aggressively as we can. Your cancer is HR positive and moderate growth rate. It’s an aggressive cancer.”

I am a competitive person and I just wanted to beat cancer so badly. I was all in. “Let’s do this and I’m going to win.” And I began the treatment plan. It was brutal, it was tough but I got through it. During that time my employer wanted me to resign until I had completed my treatments. I fought them on this and they backed away. I took my kids to their school activities, I went to work, treatment, and as much as I could do. My family and friends rallied around me and jumped right in to help and relieve some of the ‘to dos’ from me. And it was all greatly appreciated.

As I counted down each chemo treatment, suddenly we were at the 6-month mark and started daily radiation(chemo treatments continued during this time). This went on for 6 weeks. I made every treatment and returned to work in the afternoon.  And then the 6 weeks were over and back to just chemo. I made it to the 1-year anniversary of my surgery date and celebrated because I had been cancer free for year. And I realized I had 6 more months of chemo. And that flew by. None of it was a walk in the park but I celebrated every treatment I completed.

Then suddenly the chemo was over. My last chemo was January 16th (my grandmother’s birthday). On this doctor’s visit he handed me my prescription for the next 5 years.  “Take this daily, studies show it keeps the cancer from returning and studies are showing now you should take it for 10 years. Do you want to take this for 10 years?” he asked. I found myself saying: “No. I agreed to 5 years and I will do 5 years but no more.” He backed off.

Here I was done with chemo and radiation and now just maintaining by taking a daily pill and I swore to myself I was going to get back into the best possible shape I could get into. I called my friend and told her: “Let’s start doing 5Ks. I need to get into shape and walking those will be great.” She agrees and one month out from the 5K, I began to walk. And the pain with each step got worse. I was angry at myself for allowing me to get so out of shape that walking caused so much pain. The first day I walked 1 mile and I was in excruciating pain by the end of this walk. The next day I walked 0.2 miles to my parents’ home to visit and asked them to drive me home because I couldn’t stand the pain. I didn’t attempt to walk the rest of the week because I had to go to work and whatever the kids after school activities were. And I was in pain. The next week I attempted to walk more and was hit with the same pain. This went on each week and as each week went on the pain got worse.

The day of the 5K I tried to tell my friend I couldn’t go because the pain was so bad. She told me, “You are going and you will do this. I’m pulling up in your driveway right now.” Crap. The 5K was happening and I did it. I came in 2nd to last only by lapping a guy in a wheelchair on a slight hill. They didn’t even take my picture as I crossed the finished line in 1.5 hours. I was hobbling and horrible pain shooting down my right hip all the way down to my ankles. I was defeated and humiliated. It was high school gym class all over again.

Later that week I met with my oncologists for my weekly appointment. He asked what I had been up to and I answered: “I did a 5K Saturday. It was awful. I’m really out of shape.” He looked at me with surprise and said, “Really? That medicine you’re taking causes severe joint pain and brittle bones.” Oh, I’m supposed to feel this bad when I try to exercise because of the medicine. I was relieved but also worried because of his comment about brittle bones.

Then suddenly 5 years had went by and gone is the medication that kept me sidelined much of the time because of the painful side effects. The only medication I would be taking daily would be my thyroid medication and that leaches calcium out of your bones.  

As time marched on I have been blessed living my life and witnessing my family and friends celebrate milestones in their lives. And I am so grateful for all this and I know none of this would have been able to happen without the chemo I received decades ago. But chemo is the gift that keeps on giving even decades later. Nobody talks about that part.

Chemo not only attacks cancer cells but everything in your body is attacked and it affects your body for the rest of your life, long after the chemo treatments are over. The joint pain is still there. There are conditions called “chemo toe,” “chemo nail”, “chemo teeth” …well you get the idea. Nails fall off and for some people never grow back. I lost all of my hair during chemo and was fortunate enough to get back a full head of hair, but some people never regain the hair they lost. During a bout with walking pneumonia I coughed so violently I detached my retina. I didn’t get it reattached quickly enough and lost sight in my right eye. Teeth will break apart and break down. It is ongoing for everyone who has survived cancer and made it through the treatment.

When I was discovering CBD oil and read that it helps repair damaged bones, I jumped on it and began using it as a daily supplement. I learned about helping manage symptoms of autoimmune diseases, witnessed firsthand my cousin’s Parkinson’s tremors subsiding on the first dose, and so many others sharing their me stories about how CBD helps them. Because of the success stories our customers share with me, I have become an advocate for Mir’s industrial hemp products. Our CBD comes from industrial hemp and we have both CBD oil and hemp oil in all of our tinctures. For our customers, just like me, it isn’t about running a 5K or marathon, it is about regaining my health, my mobility, and my life. Living my life on my terms. That is why I developed and use Mir’s full spectrum CBD oil. I am Extraordinary.  You can be extraordinary too.