Valerie Davis is no stranger to cancer. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago, her son battled cancer 15 years ago, had a reoccurrence seven years later, and she is now in remission with her second bout of breast cancer.
"The first time it was in the right breast, I couldn't tell, it was small, stage 1. I had a lumpectomy and radiology and was given a 97% no recurrence rate." Valerie said.
"The Tamoxifen was very difficult for me, it made me sleepy, moody and edgy. I just felt foggy while taking it."
While Valerie admits she wasn't the perfect patient after her first diagnosis, she truly believes it was stress that fueled her second breast cancer diagnosis.
Valerie noticed two lumps in her left breast and was diagnosed with the reoccurrence of DCIS but this time it was HER 2 positive and the cancer had moved to her lymph node. She was treated with six rounds of chemotherapy and was shocked, by the second round of chemo she said she couldn't even feel the lumps anymore.
The chemo however did cause her to lose her hair.
"I had just gotten this cute, sexy little hair cut but as soon as I washed my hair and had hand fulls of hair coming out, I said nope, enough of this." Valerie went straight to the nearest barber and got her head shaved.
She did mention that she was surprised to learn most places will shave the heads of those diagnosed with cancer for free.
"My appearance wasn't important to me, losing my hair didn't bother me. Everybody is different and responds to treatment differently physically and emotionally."
So she rocked her scarf and pink ball cap wherever she went.
After her chemotherapy, she underwent radiation and a lumpectomy. The process started in December 2016, right after her daughter's wedding, and wrapped up in July of 2017. Valerie is currently getting Herceptin infusions through November and will undergo five years of hormone therapy.
"Through all of this I minimized my cancer, it's not a big deal, because I didn't want to worry my family. And so many people are going through so much worse."
And speaking of family, Valerie isn't the only one whose battled cancer twice within her immediate family. Valerie's son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16, in 2002 with stage 3 Hodgkin Lymphoma in his spleen and medial chest area, close to his heart. And seven years later was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma which caused the removal of 2/3 of his kidney.
"My cancer was not a big deal, it didn't matter compared to your child's. There is nothing that is more incomprehensible and heartbreaking as hearing your child has cancer."
But through it all the Davis family had the love and support and strength to make it through. Both Valerie and her son are in remission and doing well. And the Davis family is growing, Valerie's son welcomed a baby girl this past year.
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