I’m a 10 Year Breast Cancer Survivor!

This is a big week for me – I’m a 10 year Breast Cancer Survivor! It’s been a whole decade since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and according to the stats, this milestone means my body seems to have gotten the memo that we’re in this together for the long-haul.

Ten years ago, my ‘normal busy’ life came to a crashing halt when I heard those infamous words: “I’m afraid it’s cancer.” With young children, I needed to not only process this diagnosis and manage how my body felt, but I had my young children to worry about too. Once I had complete testing to know exactly WHAT I was dealing with AND what the path forward would be, I sat with my boys and told them mummy has cancer. BUT here’s what that means and I reassured them I would be ok. (like I had a crystal ball or something!) Julian’s first words were, “Are you going to die, mummy?” Seeing his little face tremble was the hardest part. It was incredibly jarring. I vacillated between shock, fear, sadness, and frustration watching my family suffer alongside me, as I tried to make sense of this out of control freight train headed towards me.

Thriving as a 10 year breast cancer survivor

The anxiety of waiting on pins and needles for test results (which is now part of my new normal), the marathon of surgeries, and late-night negotiations with the universe, still weigh heavily on my scarred heart. I laid for countless hours in various scanning machines (and still do) just begging and praying for good news. The fact that life could be taken in an instant was never more clear to me.

Then came deciphering the doctor-speak, making choices that would ultimately determine the course of my life, as if I was picking out what knickers to wear. I was forced to become an expert in tumor markers, genomic profiling, Ki-67 levels, medical insurance, Tamoxifen side effects  – it was all very overwhelming and exhausting. Yet losing focus and flinching for one moment could be the difference between living and dying.

breast cancer survivor deciding whether or not to do chemotherapy

At some point during this nightmare, my oncologist dangled the carrot: If we reach 10 years cancer-free, your risk of recurrence drops significantly. Well, challenge accepted! Ta-da, here I am, still standing, and at the risk of being cautiously celebratory, I am taking a moment to do a little victory lap.

The truth is I’ve lost count of my seemingly endless surgeries and procedures, and I’ve fought many private battles over the past 10 years. What still shocks me is how this disease came from nowhere. I had no family history, felt no lumps, ran 6 miles the day of my diagnosis, and had never felt more healthy. Who’d have guessed my own rogue cells were plotting a coup?

10 year breast cancer survivor

The harsh reality of cancer is that not everyone survives the fight. What’s humbling and quite evident, is that my outcome wasn’t decided by medical treatments and lifestyle changes. I didn’t ‘fight harder’ than other cancer patients. I did everything medically possible to rid my body of this disease but ultimately, I had to accept my unpredictable course of fate. And if you know me, that was the hardest part. I talk more about this in my article Breast Cancer: Dealing with Survivor Guilt.

Cancer turned out to be my unexpected teacher, forcing me how to squeeze joy out of the ordinary and to cherish my loved ones. Now, little things; the sound of rain, the smell of my morning coffee, my ability to hike up a hill, or simply laughing with my boys… all these simple pleasures now feel deeply significant.

im a 10 year breast cancer survivor and hiked to tigers nest monastery

So I’m here to remind you that cancer is sneaky, and can show up when you least expect it. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take a minute today to give yourself a quick self-check, schedule regular annual checkups, and embrace the friendly mammogram machine.

Early detection is my superhero. Remember, if something feels or looks off? Get it checked. My ten-year milestone is a testament to the importance of regular health screenings, a practice I value now more than ever.

8 years cancer free and counting

Please raise a glass for me  – a freaking 10 year breast cancer survivor laughing in the face of adversity, bouncing back stronger than ever, and embracing life now more than ever.

Cheers to Celebrating Life as a 10 Year Breast Cancer Survivor, one day at a time!

Join me in this party of life and survival on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Kristinr | 23rd Mar 24

    Raising a virtual glass to you and your milestone! I am coming up on 3 years in a few weeks and know how important each and every year of remission is to be counted! You ma’am truly are cancer free! Cheers!

    • Samantha | 23rd Mar 24

      ahh congratulations to you too! So important to celebrate these milestones! xx

  2. Tina | 25th Mar 24

    Fantastic Sam! Cheers to you and ten years of being cancer free! You are an inspiration and a fighter! Look forward to growing old together my friend. I love you! Tina 💕

    • Samantha | 25th Mar 24

      Ahhh thank you so much! XXX

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