Interviews

Breast Cancer Survivor Story: Viki Matthews

lorens-world-breast-cancer-viki-matthews

Thank you so much for your readership and support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Our fourth and final in our Breast Cancer Survivor Series is Viki Matthews, an incredible employee at our company at Market America and a dear friend of Teresa's, who's story we featured just last week.

Breast Cancer Survivor Story: Viki Matthews

lorens-world-breast-cancer-viki-matthews

At our wedding reception 2 years ago – 2 months post-treatment.

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I am 53 years old.  I have two daughters:  Staci, a senior at American University in DC and Mariah, who works at Market America and the mom of my 4 year old grandson, Alec. I am newly married (2 years). I have worked at Market America for 7½ years.

1. How was your cancer discovered and diagnosed? My cancer was discovered during a routine mammogram in 2009.  I was called back for a diagnostic mammogram which was immediately followed by an ultrasound.  The doctor reviewing everything did not think it was cancer but scheduled surgery to have whatever it was removed.  After meeting with the surgeon, I received a call from a different radiologist (with the same practice) who said the surgeon strongly suspected it was cancer and so did she.  I had a needle-biopsy which confirmed that I had Stage 1a cancer.

2. What was life like during your treatment? After lumpectomy surgery and the removal of 7 lymph nodes, life was as normal as I could make it. I scheduled my chemo treatments on Monday or Tuesday afternoons, knowing that I would feel my worst by Friday – I would have the weekend to recuperate.  I had radiation treatments before coming to work every day for 30 treatments.  Only at the end was the fatigue so great, that by Friday afternoon would I need to leave work early. I did lose my sense of taste as a side effect from the chemo – the only thing that tasted normal was sweets.  So that is what I ate – 3 meals a day! Losing my hair was extremely traumatic but looking back on it now…it’s just hair and that’s just vanity!!

3. Were you able to stay positive during the tough moments? How did your mindset effect your treatment and recovery?  I definitely was able to stay positive during treatment – I focused on the healing going on in my body and being grateful.  I was absolutely carried by my faith.

4. How have things changed since you were cleared of cancer? I am even more grateful, I try so very hard not to take anyone/anything for granted.  I am more forgiving.  I am better at staying in touch with those I love.

5. What message do you hope to give others battling breast cancer? Absolutely do not let it stop you from living.  Be grateful.  Hug those around you – accept hugs from others.  Be kind to yourself.  Ask for what you need.  Let people help you when you don’t know what you need.   Know that you will get to the other side of it, you’ll be a survivor and then you can pass on your experience, strength and hope to others.