STORY OF HOPE: Betty Swanson
Breast cancer survivor Betty Swanson has been a PartyLite Consultant since 2010, is a Team Builder in the $ellabration Region and lives in Warsaw, Indiana. She shares her story during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I was scheduled for my first mammogram in December 2008, when I was 39. But then I found a lump at the backside of my right breast on Thanksgiving night 2008. I had to wait until Monday to see a doctor, who then scheduled me for a diagnostic mammogram and biopsy.
It seemed like it took forever to get the results back. I almost went to the appointment by myself, but my husband, Troy, wanted to be there with me. When the doctor told me it was cancer, I was devastated. I had always thought my breasts were the best part of my body. I went through a barrage of emotions in a short span … I was in shock, then disbelief. Then it hit me, and I broke down in the doctor’s office. To hear that word – cancer … Once I stopped crying, my next emotion was to fight, aggressively. I scheduled an appointment with two different doctors and found the one we wanted to do my lumpectomy.
Things progressed rapidly, and I had surgery in mid-December. I needed both radiation and chemo. I was in a clinical trial and had a special kind of radiation treatment that was faster than normal. The chemo made me lose my hair – I think that was the toughest part for me after the surgery. I was showering and clumps of my hair were coming out. I had decided that I would cut my long hair shorter, and then a week later I decided it was time to shave it. My husband began shaving my head for me, and then I took over. I think it gave me some sense of control over the situation. I had the support of my loving husband – he was amazing. My family and friends rallied around me, and I felt closer to God than ever. I proudly wore a bandana over my bald head instead of a wig most days. I talk to the women at my Parties about doing their self-checks, and I have a shower card I give them. I am a stronger person because of the experience. Would I change anything? I would like the shape of my breast to look normal again, but the way my husband supported me, showing me so much love, and the closeness I felt with God were an amazing experience.
In May of 2009, I was done with treatments, and I rang the bell indicating I had won the fight! My last diagnostic mammogram showed no cancer. I have been cancer free and loving life since the day I rang that bell. Thank you to my husband, family, friends and the Lord for supporting me and loving me and bringing me through the toughest thing I had gone through in my life.
Since 1997, the PartyLite family of Consultants, Customers and employees has raised nearly $15 million for the American Cancer Society through personal donations, our Change the World™ program where everyone can “round up” their sales total to the nearest penny or up to $10, and through the sale of our GloStrong™ by PartyLite Scented Jar Candle where a portion of each sale is donated to the American Cancer Society. Thank you for participating and donating through any of these convenient methods.