STORY OF HOPE: Betty Swanson

Betty and Troy Swanson enjoying life after breast cancer.

Betty and Troy Swanson enjoying life after breast cancer.

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.

Betty and her family continue to celebrate her clean bill of health since 2009.

Betty and her family continue to celebrate her clean bill of health since 2009.

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.