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Tales from the Tribe

Campers in the Wild: Julie Nee

by Campowerment Crew
 ∙ Dec 5 ∙ 3 Min Read

Written by Camper Julie Nee on Dec 3, 2019; picked up by our crew via Facebook

One year ago…I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

What was my reaction? Okay, no biggie, let’s get it out and move on. Denial. Once you say the “C” word, you are thrust into a medical world you never imagined. 

A week later, I was sitting in a 3-hour appointment called the Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic and all of the various practitioners (medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist—who knew there were three different types of oncologists?!, nurse navigator, etc) take turns visiting you and talking about various things like mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. 

All I could think the entire time was, “what am I even doing here? I am not going to be doing ANY of these things!” 

I just assumed that they would grab my little tumor and life would move on. 

Denial still in full force. 

That was before all of the scans, ultrasounds, etc. After the scans, come to find out, there were three tumors, not one. 

Denial over, mastectomy is now the plan. But still, let’s do this surgery and move on. Nothing else. The scans showed nothing in the lymph nodes.

Mastectomy comes, a new surprising layer is revealed—in addition to removing the three tumors totaling 6.2 cm, they found cancer in one of my lymph nodes (those things combined, size and lymph involvement, Stage 3). The surgeon was surprised and so was I. Lymph nodes are a game-changer.

Oncologist now recommending chemo and radiation—once again I am pushing back. Isn’t the mastectomy enough? 

I decided that I needed a second opinion and went to Duke to get it. What did they say? The EXACT same thing as my oncologist. Bummer x 1,000.

So here we are a year from diagnosis date, and I did ALL of the things I said I wouldn’t have to do—mastectomy, 5.5 months of chemo, AND 30 radiation treatments.

As we talked about this as a family tonight, we talked about how hard it is to believe that it’s been a year and that it’s all over and how great it is that we can put this chapter behind us.

Sometimes when you are in the middle of the hardest thing, you think you will never get through it.

Even on the darkest days, you keep putting one foot in front of the other and suddenly you see the light. Before long you are out on the other side!

Onward!!

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Way-Fun Fact #27
One of every two campers at women’s experience has been there before. Why come back? Because every camp is different each time, and, as humans, so are we!