Susie Walker Byrd
My name is Susie Walker Byrd. On December 23, 2014, while everyone else was planning for Christmas fun and festivities with their family and friends, I was planning for chemo treatment, bilateral mastectomy and deciding if I wanted reconstructive surgery. I was given a terrifying diagnoses… triple negative breast cancer (the worst of all breast cancers). As I faced my mortality, I embarked on an emotional journey of self-discovery, love and forgiveness. Using my social work experience advocating for children and families, I knew I had to go on a quest to save my own life! My care consisted of chemotherapy and a few surgeries. After the last treatment, I was excited to leave the building knowing it was my last time feeling weak, nausea, and that I wouldn’t have to go back next week… woot woot!
While there is nothing pretty about the pink breast cancer ribbon, I want people to know it is not an automatic death sentence. I want to give people encouragement not to give up and know that they’re not alone. During my treatments, I was blessed to connect with an organization called Jill’s Wish that provided financial assistance and paid a large portion of my bills. Upon completion of treatments, I joined Jill’s Wish board of directors and share their mission. You can learn more about Jill’s Wish here.
I chose not to have reconstructive surgery, a decision one of my doctors and many of my friends couldn’t understand. Who wouldn’t want a new pair of perky breasts! For one, I don’t like going under anesthesia not knowing what is happening to me. Second, I’m overweight and considered obese so the new breast would only look like a small lump (definitely not worth the pain for a lump). Third, having a flat chest is my war wound, a constant reminder of how blessed I am to be alive. In spite of life’s ups and downs, I am still here and that is worth celebrating!!!