My name is Cathy. I’m from Tianjin, China, and I moved here to Houston with my husband Olen in July, 2009.
I didn’t realize how fast things could change. But it only took a couple of days for my life to be turned upside down. When I found out I had breast cancer, Olen and I were planning to buy a house; I was going to school and planning to apply to nursing school; we were happy and were just getting our new life in Houston started. But the diagnosis from the doctor just threw me hard from the top of heaven to the ground, shocked and hurt. I can still hear the doctor’s words: “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you have breast cancer.”
Everything seemed so untrue and unreal to me, and also so cruel. I am only 27 years old. I’m healthy and always have a positive attitude. How could such a thing be happening to me?
The first few days were the hardest time for me. I had the same experience as a friend who told me what he went through when he found out he had cancer: during the first three days, I experienced a feeling of the death, burial, and then a return to life. After those three days, the truth had sunk in that I was sick and I needed to start my treatment as soon as possible. I didn’t have time to go through the denial or bargaining stages of grief. I just accepted it.
I’ve asked why this thing is happening to me. Does God only do good things to His children? Why has He let this happen to me? But then, why not? It can happen to other people, so why not me? I still remember when our pastor visited us, he told me that it’s not that God makes the bad things happen, but what God does is to bring good things from the bad things. Those words were planted in my heart, and it makes sense. And I do believe so now.
The treatment has been long and painful. I started to lose my hair in the third week. When the first lock of my hair fell without any warning, I cried hard because I didn’t know how I would look without the hair that my husband loved so much and I was so proud of. I started to experience menopause, and my skin started deteriorating, and I was going through all of the horrible things I’d heard about before I started the treatment. I know that God tells us not to focus on the outer appearance, but it’s still hard for me to ignore it. How can I not pay any attention to those things at my age? It’s not just physical discomfort, but also spiritual torture. The hot flashes, nausea, everything, just keep reminding me of what I’m going through. The only positive thing I can find from this is “Well, when I finally do hit menopause later on in life, I’ll be very well prepared!”
I officially finished the first drug called Taxol, and started my second drug called FAC last Friday. The second drug is strong, and it made feel horrible and tired. Compared to FAC, Taxol was really nothing. FAC kept me vomiting for the whole weekend and is still giving me dry heaves now. I feel terrified when I think that I still need to go through this treatment three more times. I begged Olen and asked him if I could just go ahead and have surgery without any more FAC because I don’t think I can take it anymore.
During all this time, sometimes my spirit is high and I feel like I can accomplish anything, and sometimes I feel depressed and feel like I can’t do anything. But at the same time, I feel so happy and blessed. God has been putting people around us to love me and help me. He’s been watching over me since the beginning, even before I found out what happened to me. I’ve been receiving letters from people I don’t even know, cards from friend’s prayer groups, food from Olen’s coworkers, help and care from my in-laws, and the generous love and support from Olen, the one I love the most and who loves me the most. I really feel I don’t lack anything.