Vicki Roberts – Survivor
My journey started February 2014 with a routine mammogram. I was 6 months late for my regular annual mammogram. After the mammogram I was called back for a sonogram, which was followed by a needle biopsy, then a diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma; HER2+, hormone negative. After that, life was a whirlwind of scans, doctor appointments, and lots of questions and treatment plans. There was a level of anxiety that is hard to describe and explain. Attempts to focus on ordinary decisions were impossible.
My genetics counselor, a high school friend of mine, told me early on I would be blown away by the kindness of people as I went t through this journey. Boy, was that an understatement! There is so much support in the city of Dallas for breast cancer patients; from Susan G. Komen, to medical facilities, to churches. Support is everywhere, and I am so lucky to be a part of this community of support!
I went through the “standard” regime of treatment: TCHP neoadjuvant chemo, 36 treatments of radiation, lumpectomy, and axillary dissection where 24 lymph nodes were removed. It was a tough journey but I always say it is do-able.
Early in the chemo process, minus any hair, I ran into Christine at Corner Bakery, and she told me about a Facebook page she had started for breast cancer patients called Faith Wears Pink. At that time the group was around 240 strong; presently the private Facebook page has more than 700 followers. Christine’s faith has led her to connect and support many of us with breast cancer (photo attached of Christine, me, and another Pink Sister at the Plano Komen Race, probably 2015; maybe 2016).
All was well until I felt lumps in November 2017 and was re-diagnosed as Stage IV. I was in a trial study of TDM1 + Herceptin but had to drop out because my white count would not cooperate and remain high enough to continue the study. After the study I was prescribed Tykerb and Herceptin every 3 weeks for a few months. When the lumps increased in size, I was put on Xeloda + Herceptin every 3 weeks, which is my current treatment. I still have my port, for the Herceptin infusions. Once you are in the breast cancer community, you realize how critical research is and how important it is to support foundations that promote research, such as the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Without going into all the details of the past 5 years, I can tell you this is something you can do if you are ever diagnosed with breast cancer. Along the way, I looped in MD Anderson at the beginning of 2018, so I check in there every 3-4 months. It is comforting to get a 2nd opinion on everything I am doing, and my oncologist at MD Anderson and UT Southwestern never hesitated to work together.
This November I turned 60 and asked my friends and family to donate to Susan G. Komen Dallas County in lieu of a birthday gift. I am proud to say we raised almost $2,000. It warmed my heart to see such generosity from those around me who have supported me since the beginning.
Breast cancer changes your life, to say the least. For me, it has made me grateful for everything, but especially the time I spend with friends. It has given me a peace I did not have before and made clear what is important to me. I am not saying I have not had my meltdowns, but now I know the meltdown does not last forever and once it passes, that peace eventually returns.
I have many people who helped me along the way. At my first Susan G. Komen Dallas Race, after I was initially diagnosed, my coworkers at Humana formed a team & made these awesome t-shirts that said Find a Cure for Vicki. The two employers I have worked for during the past 5 years have been incredibly supportive. For that support and patience, I am so grateful.
I have made lifelong friends the past 5 years, to add to the amazing friends with whom I was previously blessed. My sister moved to Dallas to help me in May 2015, and decided to stay in Dallas. We have had many fun times together.
Below are several scriptures that keep me strong:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10
Cast on the Lord whatever He sends your way, and He will sustain you. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.Psalms 55:22 (ISV)
Faith, that Wears Pink, keeps me going!