Occupation – I was an elementary educator for 27 years. I taught in the City of Hopewell for twenty-four years and Amelia County for three years. I stopped teaching to help my mother take care of my father. My father had stomach cancer. My mother was also suffering with colon cancer and going through chemo at the time. I currently work with my husband as an Office Manager.
When were you diagnosed? December 2010
Treatment location? I did not undergo treatment. I made the decision the morning of the surgery to have both breasts totally removed leaving no excess tissue.
How was it found? My right breast did not feel normal. I know my body better than anyone else. I can always tell when something is not normal.
Do you have a family history of breast cancer? Yes, I lost my paternal grandmother to breast cancer. Some of my family members have had breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer and leukemia. I have also had skin cancers removed. The right side of my face was the worst. I was cut from the corner of my mouth up to just below my tear gland.
As a woman what gives you your strength? I believe “Hope gives me strength.” I am driven by my spirituality (faith), family and friends. I don’t believe it is one thing that gives me strength it is a combination of things that gives each of us strength. It is true that cancer makes one vulnerable and one discovers that it is not just a bad state, but one that brings us closer to others especially when they become vulnerable too. Strength and vulnerability, together, form a powerful combination in life.
Briefly state in your own words something about yourself that you want people to know.
I have spent twenty-seven years in education, in which I served as an art teacher, a classroom teacher, a gifted teacher, mentor and a master teacher of science and mathematics. I devote most of my time to family, writing children’s books, self help books, creating arts and crafts, scrapbooking, catering, and volunteering my time to raise money for local charities and schools. Most importantly, I want people to know that I have the most wonderful husband. He has always been there and supported me. My husband taught me that it is not only the person with cancer who suffers, it is the person who loves you and takes care of you that suffers just as much, if not more. Ron, thank you for always being there for me, you are the best!
I can't promise you that I'll be here for the rest of your life,
but I can promise that I'll love you for the rest of mine.
Below is Diane's 2nd lesson with her partner Rod Meade.
One person CAN make a difference......be that person