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Surviving the Fight! My Journey with Breast Cancer. By Guest Blogger Crystal G.

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I am a breast cancer warrior! My first battle with breast cancer began October 1, 2009 when I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. I didn’t know how to digest this information. I was only 26 years old, a single mother of two, working a full time job at a law firm as a legal assistant, a full time reservist in the U.S. Naval Reserves and a student in school trying to complete my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. My life would suddenly come to halt due to surgeries and treatment and just being emotionally, mentally, and physically disconnected to everything around me. I opted to have the lump removed from my breast rather than a total mastectomy. The idea of that was just too emotionally painful to go through. I asked that treatments would start after the holidays and my birthday. I knew this would take a toll on my body so I just wanted to have this time with my kids. I underwent 6 rounds of chemo therapy. By this time I was unable to work or drill with my unit. I still attended class between my treatments. Once I was done with chemo, I had 35 rounds of radiation. I did this every day except on the weekends.

Having breast cancer was no walk in the park for me. After my first chemo treatment, I wanted to give up! I did not want to go through this anymore. This was such a horrible experience. But I had to find the strength and courage to push on and win this battle not only for myself but for my kids. I accomplished two great milestones in my life. I was able to graduate with my class and get my degree and form a breast cancer support group with two other survivors called the Pink Ribbon Divas. It was hard to get back into work but I went back to work after being out for over a year and a half. I fought and I won this terrible battle!

Now here we are at the five year survivor mark and my world has been turned upside down once again. In August 2014, I learned that the cancer had returned. This time I was diagnosed with stage IV “metastatic” breast cancer. The cancer had spread beyond my breast and lymph nodes, now to my brain, skull, lung, spine, pelvis and bones. This was so devastating! This was not what I was expecting to hear! This will be a forever and long process but I have three beautiful kids to live for. Not knowing what the future holds is the hardest part but my faith is what is getting me through every day. My cancer experience has not defined who I am now as a person; I will fight until the end. I know that tomorrow is truly not promised and life can change in an instant. My challenge is to live as long as well as I can and win this battle once again!! My only wish and goal is to inspire and educate other young women like myself that there is life beyond cancer to carry on with all your hopes and dreams!

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