At age 32, in good health and about to deliver my 2nd child…being struck with a major life-threatening disease was the farthest thing from my mind. But life has a funny way of showing you that you are not as in control as you may think you are. And at any given moment a life-changing event can happen to you.
In the Summer of 2016 I was 9 months pregnant and getting ready to give birth to my 2nd child, a baby girl. My mother had been keeping some news from me for a couple of weeks now. She had Breast Cancer. She didn’t want to upset me while I was pregnant so she chose to wait until after I gave birth to tell me the news. Our entire family was shocked because we didn’t have a family history of breast cancer.
I went for my six week checkup after giving birth and I informed my OBGYN that my mother had recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I specifically asked the doctor if I should be concerned or if I needed to get tested. She confidently said no, because my mother was older and I was only 32 years old. She advised me that I can simply wait until the normal recommended age to have a mammogram which is age 40.
Four weeks after that visit, I was nursing my daughter and I felt a lump on my right breast. This wasn’t my first time breast feeding so I knew it wasn’t a clogged milk duct. It was September 2016. I went to my primary care physician to have them feel this odd lump on the side of my breast. They also ruled out a clogged milk duct and decided to have me take an ultrasound and a mammogram. Both tests showed some type of mass. A biopsy was needed to determine if the mass/tumor was benign or malignant.
On October 4, 2016 I was in Orlando, FL on a family vacation when I got the call with the results. I told the doctors to please call me at any time any day once they had some news.
They said you have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma – Stage 2 Breast Cancer.
Little did anyone know, I already had the breast cancer disease in my body when I went for my 6 week checkup. If they would have just given me a mammogram anyway as a precaution the cancer would have been caught early – around Stage 0 or Stage 1.
I carried resentment in my heart for a while after that. But God knows exactly what he is doing and he always as a plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I decided before I even came back from my vacation that I was going to FIGHT this disease with a POSITIVE attitude. With an optimistic and confident PERSPECTIVE!
Yes, I had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 32. Yes, my mom was still fighting for her life and going through treatments for breast cancer as well. Yes, I had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl who was only 3 months old. Yes, I had a husband and a 4 year old child to take care of too. Yes, I had just been given some of the worst news a person could possibly hear in their life. Yet I chose not to dwell on those things…I chose to change my perspective!
I started to search for people to talk to who also had been through a major fight in their life. Unfortunately I didn’t know of anyone that I could truly talk to. I then realized that people often hide their troubles and fight secret battles alone, not telling anyone. So there could have been someone that could relate to me in one way or another BUT how would I know since no one ever talks about those hard times.
I quickly decided that I was not going to hide this battle. I was going to share this with the world in case there was someone else who needed to see that they are not alone. That they can fight cancer or any other major challenge in their life and WIN!
I started a YouTube channel and began to share my Breast Cancer journey through videos. The response that I received was unbelievable. People who were either fighting cancer, depression, obesity, or several other issues immediately reached out to me saying that my videos were inspiring, motivating and helping them through their obstacles.
I then started educating people not only on the details of Breast Cancer but also on healthy eating and anything else I could think of that would help someone else.
I never spoke negative thoughts into my life. Did I ever get down, yes. Was I ever in pain, yes. But I never spoke negativity. I never spoke about death. I knew that I was going through a storm and I was walking through a test. But what gave me hope was the word “through” because when you are going through something it means you won’t have to stay in that situation too long. It means there is hope after it’s all said and done. (Psalms 23:4)
After 12 rounds of Chemotherapy, Lumpectomy surgery and 6 weeks of Radiation I was declared cancer-free. God healed my body. I won!
Don’t let negative thoughts control you. Speak positive thoughts into your life. Is it easy, probably not. But do it anyway! Of course I was nervous about being too positive at first because I was scared I was just getting my hopes up. What if things did not work out for my good? But it’s not about getting your hopes up. It’s about speaking those things that are not as if they already are. It’s about changing your PERSPECTIVE!
BTW…My mother is also Cancer Free! 😉
More About Marsha
Marsha McDougal is a working mother of 2, wife, videographer, YouTube blogger and also a Breast Cancer survivor. Marsha shared her fight against breast cancer through YouTube videos documenting her journey in the hopes of inspiring others to fight through whatever challenges or obstacles they may encounter and to let them know they are not alone.
Marsha lives with her family in Nashville, TN.