Shelby Coriaty: Courage (cont'd)

They are the words no woman wants to have breast cancer.  When the surgeon delivered the shocking news he also said, "You probably won't survive."  I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, my daughters were 10 and 17 years old and my son was just eight.  Inside I felt a rage, I needed to live; my children needed me to live.  I took my first courageous step that day and walked out of his office.  He was not on my life fighting team, I dind't know much about cancer (then) but I knew he was not for me.  I had no way of knowing what was ahead of me, the many battles that I would face, how much my diagnosis would change the course of my life and how much courage I really have.

I felt in my spirit I needed to be strong for my family and I put up a courageous front.  It was a tactic that worked well and one that I incorporated during surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.  My cancer had gone straight to my lymphatic system with no mass in my breast and I went into my first surgery not knowing if I would still have a breast or not.  I remember waking up in recovery with tears of relief running down my face as I felt my familiar form still there.

Soon after I finished my chemo and radiation therapy I found out that I actually had hereditary cancer.  I had no idea that five years and 17 more surgeries were going to be my destiny, how much my "shape" would change, how much courage I would master to endure it all, all that I would learn medically, but more importantly what I would learn about me.