"I am a 10 year survivor of Breast Cancer, diagnosed in October of 2007 through a routine mammogram. There was no history in my family. At that time, had just recently been on a protein diet which included walking every day. I carried my then flip cell phone in my bra right where the tumor appeared on the mammogram. There is no proof that the cell phone caused the cancer, but there is no proof that it didn’t. It scares me when I see anyone with a cell tucked in their bra." ~ Patty Blowers
Patty underwent routine mammograms, and until that year they had always been clear. "I almost didn’t go that day (for her scheduled mammogram). Oh god another mammogram, I didn’t want to do that!" She had been walking daily with her dog, stashing her cellphone, like so many women do, in her bra. "I went for that mammogram and there it was…" The tumor was coincidently in the exact location of where she tucked her cell phone on those daily walks.
A few weeks after Patty received news of her tumor being cancerous (she has no family history of breast cancer), her husband Bernard 'Bing', eight years her senior, was diagnosed with throat cancer. Faith would have it, each would juggle their own treatment schedules (chemo, radiation, surgeries, etc.) However, the procedures for fighting each are very different. For Patty, the moment they diagnosed the tumor, surgery was scheduled and additional treatments to prevent the cancer from returning followed in quick procession.
For her husband, he first had to undergo chemotherapy/radiation and a course of action to prepare the region affected by the cancer for surgery. While his wife's cancer was being address quickly, for him, it was a much longer process. He had to live with the cancer inside of him, meanwhile enduring a course of treatment which significantly impacted his will to fight. When I asked Patty what helped her see through the challenging days she shared, "it was him, I saw him giving up."
"As soon as he was diagnosed and knew what he had, he was ready to say that’s it, he didn’t have any fight. At first I hadn’t realized he was giving up."
While Patty was still working full-time and tending to her own course of treatment for breast cancer, began noticing her husband's response to what was required of him to overcome his own battle, was not what it needed to be to ensure he survived.
"Why are you not doing what you are suppose to be doing?!?" she'd ask. "He’d sit there and say nothing, absolutely nothing. It became a battle, and I finally came around in my head." Patty realized his will to live was not there, and would soon after go into work, share with her boss what was going on at home. Informing her employer she was needed at home.
"I started going with him to his appointments and spoke with his doctor. They hooked him up with someone who had been in a similar situation as him."
Patty pays tribute to the gentleman who talked with her husband, reassuring him and encouraging him, though as she spoke, from the other room I hear Bing say softly, "It wasn’t him, it was you."
"She kicked my butt!" ~ Bing
"I didn’t know if it was him (the fellow throat cancer survivor), he did not have any fight at all. I did, but I am that way anyways. This isn’t it for me! I really just wanted my situation over with. It was hard to focus on me at the time, there was a lot of emotions going on."
While Patty reflected on those days, and the emotions of battling her own fight and making sure her husband did not give up on his own struggle with cancer. Her husband once again, softly from the other room, "In the meantime she was bowling in the Masters!" Which took me by surprise and soon noticed I was in-fact surrounded by mementos of someone with a passion for knocking down the pins!
I think between the two of us we are extremely lucky, blessed and very thankful."
"You just never know how devastating this can be to your life.
Patty smiled, and began to explain how her surgeon at the time recognized she needed something non-related to cancer to focus on. She was a mess between her own care and that of her husband's, life altering experiences only those who've shared the same "shoes" can know.
She explained, "Bowling is my thing, I’m going to focus on that right now and the Masters is a month long tournament and I did! I ended up being in the finals that year!" Both Patty and her husband lit up!
"I know now, at this point in life, we would not be retired. Through the course of ten years I’ve definitely felt that my lifespan has been shortened. I’m 56 years old now, and feel like I don’t have 80 years. Maybe I’ve got 70, you don’t know, nobody knows."
~ Patty Blowers, Breast Cancer Survivor