Two days before my wedding, I felt a lump in my breast and two weeks after my honeymoon, I was diagnosed with cancer. When my new husband and I received the dreadful phone call naming my tumor “malignant,” I asked my husband if he wanted to trade me in for a new model. He responded, “…every challenge I have faced in my life has been God preparing me for this challenge.” Instead of ordering our wedding album and playing with our new china, we went to work researching the best treatment plan. We went the extreme route and I had a bilateral mastectomy. The recovery was a challenge and reconstruction was painful and took an entire year. The care of my family was crucial. My husband loved me unconditionally. My mom and sister bathed me, my dad went with me to every single appointment at M. D. Anderson, and my brothers gave me a Mohawk when my hair fell out. Everyone prayed for me continually. My church surrounded me, other cancer survivors sent me letters, neighbors made me dinner, and I felt more loved than ever before in my life.
Initially, my oncologist thought I would not have to undergo chemotherapy; but, after I scored in the mid-range on the Oncotype DX, my doctors said chemotherapy would decrease my chance of reoccurrence from 12% to 3%. I had to take every option of treatment in order to walk away feeling like I had done everything possible to live. I’m not sure I can describe the nightmare of enduring chemo. The hair loss, physical pain, emergency room visits, low white blood cell count, tears, fear, needles, more fear, head aches, body aches and mouth sores were more than I could handle by my own power.
All of the treatments and reconstruction ended after one year. Finally, I am now enjoying being a newlywed. My husband and I bought a house and enjoy our days more than before. My challenge post-treatment is learning to not be consumed with fear and jealousy of “normal women.” It is a daily discipline to think positively and BELIEVE I will live a beautiful, long life.
I was on my knees in prayer daily. God provided 100% of my strength and hope. I will never forget going to a small prayer chapel at our church and finding the guest book open to my dad’s handwriting quoting from John 11:4. “Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it’.” That was when my outlook transformed from wondering what I did to deserve this to my wonderment at God’s grace and power in my life. It is easy to fall for the lie that cancer touches people who deserve it. Cancer ended up being great for my soul, brought destruction to my arrogance, and brought light to the ugly things that had crept up on me: worry, entitlement and selfishness. Like my husband says, a caterpillar sheds its skin five times before turning into a beautiful butterfly. That was cancer for me. I shed layers of myself that were ugly as a caterpillar and what I found underneath was a more beautiful version of life.
My name is Anji Peterson Moore. I am 33 years of age and I’m a one-year breast cancer survivor.
Category: Faces of Cancer