Erin Vidovich, a member of Los Altos Grace Brethren Church, Long Beach, Calif., has been featured as part of the Diana: Legacy of a Princess campaign against breast cancer by the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Here’s a portion of her story. Click here to read the complete post.
Just one month ago my family and I celebrated my 5-year survival of this nasty disease. I had been 47 years old when I was diagnosed, with a husband and two college-age sons, a dog, a home, a busy career, and a 91-year-old mother who depended on me and had beaten breast cancer twice herself. Like so many women (50% of us) I had dense breasts, and like many women with dense breasts my cancer was missed on previous mammograms (75% is missed on mammograms due to dense breasts). It was estimated that my cancer had been growing for 3 to 4 years when I was diagnosed and it was already stage 3.
So I thought I would just pull up my bootstraps, get through the unpleasant treatments, and then my life would get back to normal. I had no clue what my journey ahead would be like and I had a much different perception of breast cancer than I do now. I’m afraid many other women still do, and that causes them to not take it very seriously. That’s why I work so hard at spreading breast cancer awareness in any way I can and also supporting others who are battling alongside me.
When the doctors told me it was aggressive I thought that meant we’d better get busy and not delay treatments, but I never thought of breast cancer as life-threatening. I bravely endured a year of chemo, mastectomy, radiation, and more chemo, and then expected life would get back to normal and cancer would be a part of my past. It came as quite a shock, both to me and my family, when just 2 years later the cancer reappeared in my lung and another year later in my brain. Just breast cancer had now become much more serious, it wasn’t like a bout of the flu that I would recover from after a nice bowl of soup. Since then I have endured more chemo, radiation, many trips inside the scanning tunnel and various cutting-edge treatments. I will continue to have weekly chemo for the rest of my life.
But I also have a strong faith in God, and His Word tells me that He works ALL things together for good, so I believed that and have continually looked for His blessings and purpose in all of this. After listening to my many stories of my experiences, life lessons, humorous stories, miracles, a friend encouraged me to start writing it all down in a blog in order to share it with others. The funny thing was, over 30 years ago I had gotten a degree at Cal State Long Beach in English/Creative Writing. I had been so on fire and excited about my writing gift when I first started college, encouraged by my teacher at Millikan High School. But, my college professor had been brutal with his criticisms, which completely deflated me and made me decide against pursuing a career in writing. Now, all these years later, it seemed that God was finally going to use my writing gift after all! My blog is now posted on 3 different websites where it reaches over 50,000 potential readers all over the world. It is so thrilling to see God using my blog to reach others with a message of hope and encouragement. Others have told me that my blogs are inspirational and insightful to cancer patients, to their friends and family who are trying to understand and support them, and to anyone going through a personal struggle.
Erin also writes at Erin’s Serendipity.