Alyce Stewart: Blessed (cont'd)

Why did I chose Blessed…well, because I feel that I am. There have been so many life-threatening events in my life that I honestly should not be here. But God has a plan and although He keeps throwing these roadblocks in my path I keep overcoming them and keep moving on. My body is full of scars which started as a child and has continued throughout my adult years. Every one of them tells an amazing story of survival and perseverance. My list of organs I no longer have is quite incredible and my body definitely tells that story. But here I am still kicking and fighting and hoping my story will give others hope.

I have survived kidney cancer of my right kidney in 1993. Several serious skin cancers throughout the years and now I am fighting Stage IIIB breast cancer. This is not in my family and is not related to my kidney cancer, they are two different types of cancer. I have dense breasts so my cancer was hard to detect although I complained of pain in my armpit and down the side of my breast for years. I have always had my annual checkups and had been to my GYN in January 2016 and was told my mammogram was fine. I had a routine checkup with my medical doctor in August 2016 and as he was preparing to leave the room I mentioned my pain. He sent me back to my GYN and she ordered another mammogram and an ultrasound. The mammogram was fine but the ultrasound was not. Again, a blessing…at that point no one realized that the denseness was masking the disease, so thankful for that ultrasound.

I had chemo first to try to shrink the size of the node in my axilla. I had surgery on April 6, 2017 and the two tumors and positive node in the left breast were gone. The surgeon was unable to remove it all in the axilla due to its placement in my arm. There also were positive nodes in a satellite circle around the original node.  So, I still had cancer. I had 30 rounds of radiation which ended on July 5, 2017.

So now I am blessed to share my story and I tell women to find out if they have dense breasts and if they do they need further testing. Mammograms alone may not show what is going on, MRIs, 2D and 3D exams as well as ultrasounds should be given as well. The tools are out there to help us but unless we fight for ourselves and push for these we may not get the treatment we need.  So maybe this is God’s plan for me to help spread this word to help others along the way. A blessing in every way!