Carol Ross, a 20 year breast cancer survivor from Fair Haven, Vermont sat with me for a few minutes on February 28, 2018 to share her own story of survival. One of the many Vermonters guest and residents of the state have the pleasure of meeting and chatting it up with! We sat down for a few minutes that day. A month later and I can still feel how emotional it was for her to re-telling the experience.
Like many women, Carol went in for a routine mammogram, leaving without worry or concern, to then receiving a phone call the next day. She recalls being with her friend at the time, cleaning houses when the call came in, "You are going to tell me I’ve got cancer...” While that phone call took place twenty years prior, for Carol and most women, it's a life altering moment in time, and a heavy memory.
To be a passing stranger on a big trip cross country, sitting with Carol, being reminded of how precious it is to be alive was a gift. Each person who takes time out of their day to share their own personal experience with this disease is not something to be taken for granted. It's also not possible without the support of a community.
I asked Carol how she pushed through the challenges of having to experience a full mastectomy of her left breast, recovery, treatments, being a mother, and devoted employee? How did survive the disease and how did she manage the impact breast cancer has on one's life as a whole.
"The support of family, friends and community. I am a Christian and had a significant amount of support from the local church communities, praying for me and offering what they could to see me survive. I think that’s what gave me the strength to get to where I am today - a proud survivor."
Carol celebrated her 20th year of being cancer free in March of 2018 and had these words to share on how surviving cancer impacted her life for the better, "I try to take every day as it comes, sometimes it’s hard and then I have to back it up to say, wait, you are here, you could have been gone.”
To others who read her story, "LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!"