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Interview with Breast Cancer Survivor Terri Boyd

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It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we are doing ALL that we can to spread awareness, get educated, and fight alongside these amazing people who have been touched by cancer. We spoke with Terri Boyd, a breast cancer survivor, who had a thing or two to say about getting checked yearly and how it saved her life! Read more to get inspired!
 
Interview with Breast Cancer Survivor Terry Boyd Social Sunday
Q: What were your first thoughts when you received your diagnosis?
My first thought was, “Damn my luck.” But then the whirlwind of reality hit me and I started to feel fear and panic at the same time. I thought of my son who was just a freshman in college and my husband and wondered how this would affect their lives.
Q: How was the cancer initially detected?
My doctor’s nurse convinced me to do a mammogram right then and there on a regular visit because it had been a while. I was whining that I didn’t like them because they hurt and that I had received some false negative reports in the past that scared me. The young nurse, in her mid-twenties, and sweet as could be, said she knew people who had had breast cancer and early detection was the key. She kind of begged me, pleading, “If I could get you in to see my favorite technician today, would you do it? I gave in, and they found a spot, and sent me to Seattle Virginia Mason Breast Center right away for more tests.
 Q: What was the course of treatment like for you and your family?
The two words that come to mind for me are devastating and lonely. Cancer is a private journey, a long, lonely road. It’s a fight to live, it changes your life, your perspective on life, and your needs and wants change also. Body image is such a huge part of the BC journey. You don’t want to put the vanity in the life equation, but vanity is part of the human equation. I still had to work, my husband still had to work and my son was away at college. So I would go to doctor appointments alone and try not to miss much work so I could keep my job. I had good insurance, but even still the costs for the procedures and surgeries were extremely expensive. A son in college and mom’s in BC treatment–no worries, right?
Terri Boyd Breast Cancer Survivor Social Sunday
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced while seeking treatment?
Holding down my job, keeping myself motivated to get out of bed to put a brave face on and go to work face my staff and for the public. I kind of wanted to just have time to myself to think and heal, and work seemed counterproductive. In hindsight, work was probably good to keep me going. However, I desperately needed rest during that time. You are frequently exhausted when you have cancer. You feel zapped like there are ten-pound weights on each leg and an even bigger burden on your mind.
Q: Walk us through the day you found out you were cancer-free and how it felt.
I felt like I could climb Mount Rainer! I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was cancer-free! I don’t hesitate to tell anyone now that I’m a survivor. I feel blessed, I feel lucky, I feel relief, and I feel strong.
Terri Boyd Breast Cancer Survivor Social Sunday
Q: What messages do you have for others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
Use information as your shield, like an extra tool. Read everything you can on the diagnosis you receive. Talk to people who are fighting the fight. They know things, their experiences count. I think that doctors are aggressive with mastectomies when they might not need to be. Don’t be fooled to think they can just give you implants right away. It doesn’t quite work that way.
Q: For those out there who have never experienced breast cancer or known someone who has (which is very little) what advice would you give them?
The statistics say one in four women will get it, so if you don’t know someone yet you will. Be kind, because cancer sucks. It doesn’t always kill, but it is deadly and it needs to be taken seriously.
Terri Boyd Breast Cancer Survivor Social Sunday
Q: What do you think young women need to know more of when it comes to breast cancer?
I want young women to know that they are not immune to this. Early detection is the key. You might not feel a lump as I didn’t, but the nurse suggesting a mammogram that day saved me. Yes, they hurt, and yes older women get breast cancer, but a lot of young women get can be affected too. Be proactive, and don’t leave it to chance.
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