When I agreed to write a cancer survivor account, I never imagined it to be this hard. And it is hard because of the loss of Kimberly Ann Batchelor, a 13-year-old Hampstead youth, who lost her battle with cancer. What an impact she had on so many and this entire community. To this end, I dedicate this to her memory and the memory to those we all have lost to cancer and to honor all those who are still fighting.


When I agreed to write a cancer survivor account, I never imagined it to be this hard. And it is hard because of the loss of Kimberly Ann Batchelor, a 13-year-old Hampstead youth, who lost her battle with cancer. What an impact she had on so many and this entire community. To this end, I dedicate this to her memory and the memory to those we all have lost to cancer and to honor all those who are still fighting.



I received my breast cancer diagnosis in July 2002. I found the lump myself in April, but since I had planned to go to Disney World with my daughter, Audrea George and her family, I kept the finding to myself. Once we got back from our vacation I contacted the doctor. After my initial doctor visit, I was sent to Dr. Gregory Bebb. Little did I know that Dr. Bebb was a Christian and a physician who believed in the Great Physician. His words of cancer hit hard, but not so shocking. Breast cancer was on both sides of my family and I had lost an aunt, to whom I was very close, to breast cancer. The next step of telling my daughter was very hard. At the time my son was living in California, so I kept this low-key for him.



I began my journey with hope and determination. Dr. Bebb had told me he was confident we could beat this, but it wasn’t going to be easy. And it wasn’t! He suggested the lumpectomy, which I did. After that I was sent to Dr. Anagnost, who confirmed that I would need chemotherapy. I traveled the entire road: lumpectomy, chemotherapy and, finally, radiation. Yes, I lost my hair; but two different wigs made that “fun.” I cried when it was time to shave my head, but a friend, Anne Troutman, handled this for me and was another blessing along my journey. At the time I worked for an agency that was a huge support group for me. My co-workers were Christians so I had their support and prayers. Along with them was the strength of my family and two great friends, Sandy Mizzelle and Thelma Padgett.



Enough of the “sad” part of this journey. I am a SURVIVOR! It has been 10 years and two months since the last day of a cancer treatment. For that I give God the glory and thanks along with my family, friends and church family. The support I received was overwhelming! And I refused to be the victim. It is easy to feel sorry for one’s self, but there is always someone who is facing more than what I endured. It wasn’t easy, but it was what I made of it. I refused to feel sorry for myself, did not want pity and I certainly was not going to let cancer win. My grandchildren, Tyler, Mason and Mallory, gave me so much to live for. (I now have another grandson, Will.)



So what have I gained from this experience? Strength comes from within, but you can’t travel the journey alone. I have learned to do things when given the opportunity even if I really didn’t want to. Go places when given the opportunity and see the beauty through others. Provide support and be a great listener and mentor. Give hugs and not only say “I love you” but show your love. Most of all live and love life to its fullest and make memories. Give God the glory for all that you have and even those things that you don’t have. Pass it forward, and I can promise you will be blessed! Tomorrow is past and the future isn’t promised. Make “today” a full count! Thank you to my family and friends for all their love and support as you walked the journey with me.



And lastly, RELAY FOR LIFE! Every year walking the survivor lap is very emotional. To have so many people cheering you on touches the heart like nothing else. We have got to find a cure! CANCER MUST GO! Come out on May 3rd to the Pender County Relay for Life! We can beat cancer! Yes, we CAN!



God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.



 



Constance Batson is a breast cancer survivor. Hers is the third Survivor Story of the 2013 Relay Season.