The theme for the 2017 Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is “Generations.” As we get closer to the walk, we want to share the stories of the generations of women, men, parents, grandparents, and children who come together at the 2-Day to fight breast cancer in our communities. This week, 2-Day Walker Lisa Marks share her story.
I am a survivor of 5.5 years. I am thankful for my experience with breast cancer, but I NEVER want to repeat it. I was diagnosed at 43 and after the fiasco of waiting 2 months for a diagnosis, I had a double mastectomy with latissimus flap reconstruction. After the surgery, the surgeon came into my room and told me that I could live the rest of my life cancer free. At this time I had children ages 5, 7, 9, and 11. This was what I wanted to hear- for them and for me. Unfortunately, the lab work came back 6 weeks later with awful results. There was a .04mm tumor inside the breast tissue and I needed to see an oncologist. I visited 2 oncologists and decided to continue to be aggressive with my treatment. I chose to go through chemotherapy treatments and Herceptin treatments.
My family supported me throughout the whole experience. My community stood up for me immediately and set up a meal plan. I blogged my experience on Caring Bridge and it helped. My in-laws came to stay with me during my first chemotherapy treatment, my mother came for the second treatment, and various friends volunteered to sit with me for the next year of treatment. During this year, I found the best stress reliever for me was to exercise.
I was talked into walking the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer during my 2nd year post-chemo. My son was attending a therapeutic boarding school and was getting excited about exercise. He and I signed up together. My friend dropped out of the walk due to other obligations, but Mitchell (14 years old) and I decided we were going to go through with it. We were quite nervous the first year as we didn’t know what to expect. In the beginning, I led my son and pulled him along, but by the end of the 20 mile walk, he was pulling me along. We had so much fun walking, which was enhanced by all of the volunteers, staff, and support programs. Upon returning home, my other children requested to walk as well. And then my mother, at the age of 73, decided she would love to walk on Sunday at the 2017 2-Day Walk with me. As Mitchell and I enter our 3rd year in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk, Jeremy signed up and is ecstatic to join us. We will be 3 generations walking in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk this year!!