Continuing with Cancer Awareness month our feature is Missy Tuft. She is an amazing woman with a tremendous story of courage and strength to share with us. We are so grateful she is willing to share her experiences; here is Missy’s story:
Feature: Missy Tuft
I will never forget the day I felt a weird lump in my right breast, it scared me terribly. I thought, “Ok Missy you are over reacting” and pushed it to the back of my mind. A couple of days later I felt again, hoping it was magically gone; instead the lump had gotten harder and bigger. My fears increased. Later that night I finally told my husband, and he in turn called my youngest son, both insisting I go to the doctor now.
The next morning I was on the phone trying to find a place to get checked that didn’t cost a arm and leg. I live in a very small town in Utah and finally found an open spot in a woman’s clinic in Cedar City to be checked. My youngest son and step daughter traveled with me, as I was very apprehensive to go alone. As the technician did a mammogram she ordered a ultra sound ASAP. Every red flag was going off inside of me. Scared, oh God, was I SCARED!! The gal doing the ultra sound, I have known since she was a teenager. She stood up and told me she was going out to get my son. As my family came in to be with the, the room suddenly filled with doctors and staff.
Phone calls were being made, while I laid there crying. Of all days it was my daughters 29th birthday! Sept. 5, 2013. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, with a tumor 10 cm by 9 cm I had ‘Stage Three Breast Cancer’. I returned home very scared and confused. Not knowing what to do, who to call, where to go, and worst of all we did not have any kind of health insurance. My husband held me while I cried. My kids jumped right in and started making suggestions. A good friend came over and started making phones calls to anyone and everyone including medicaid.
We decided that since my three kids all lived down in southern Utah I would seek out a doctor there. My first stop was to stay with my daughter in Cedar City, while my husband stayed home, working and taking care of our dogs. There I did 8 treatments of chemotherapy. Due to the effects of chemo, my body couldn’t handle my daughter’s two story home any longer. So the next stop was to St. George to stay with my oldest son and his family to finish treatments. My support group is amazing till this day. Family and friends changed their everyday lives to sit through my chemotherapy treatments with me. Just AMAZING!!! In fact to share in my lack of hair, my sons and grandsons shaved their heads. Two of my grand daughters wrote a song just for me, which is so special and tender to my heart. On 02/26/13 I had both breasts removed. Being BRCA 2 positive (higher risk for cancer) I decided to lower my risk factor and not have reconstructive surgery. I had a very difficult time healing from this surgery, but finally got to move to the next step, which was 33 treatments of radiation.
After nine months of pure hell, on 06/07/13 I was able to go home, my home. It was extremely hard to be away from my husband for so long, particularly through the holidays. Because of the love of my kids, grand kids, good friends, and my adorable husband, I gave cancer all I had. I was and still am very determined not to let cancer take me!!! On 10/15/14 I had my final surgery to have my ovaries removed to lower the risk of more cancer. Even though we continue to struggle to pay medical bills and get me to my cancer doctor appointments, my family have ALL pulled together to help me.
I am so grateful to all who have helped me in any way through this very long and stressful experience, particularly my sweet husband, children, grand kids, medical staff, Shanae Crabtree and all the other angels along my path. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2014
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.