Why I am grateful
Why did I do it? Because I have a grateful heart, plain and simple.
I am grateful to the radiologist who after performing my ultrasound-guided biopsy, knowing it was definitely not good news, wrapped her arms around me and told me I was very brave.
I am grateful to the nurse who stopped in to see me prior to all of my (five!) surgeries, chatted with me about her golf game, her daughters’ water polo exploits, then took my hand and wished me well.
I am so grateful to my oncologist, who stopped in to visit the morning after my mastectomy, when I couldn’t have felt more defeated, hopeless and scared. It was truly my lowest moment; since after being told I had an 80 percent chance of my lymph nodes being cancer free, I received the devastating news this insidious disease had crept into four nodes. I explained that I appreciated his kindness and thoughtful visit, but I really wasn’t in any frame of mind to discuss my fate. He then pulled over a stool, sat down, looked at me steadily and said, “I don’t care if you have it in four nodes or nine nodes. I can cure you–but you must get on board mentally.”
When it seemed as though everything that could possibly go wrong had–I wanted to believe him so badly. Having prepared myself again for the worst, it was difficult not to be skeptical. However, I have known him for more than 20 years; he has been right many, many times, and I wanted him to be right about me. I knew then that I needed to believe in my treatment program, to believe I could overcome this most challenging adversity, and at some point, believe I could regain my good health.
I am grateful to the chemotherapy nurse who always entertained me with stories of her weekend adventures, hoping to lower my elevated blood pressure, while wrapping my forearm in a heating pad to prepare it for the infusion of wonder drugs that would save my life.
I am grateful to the plastic surgeon who, when taking a look at my sorry bustline, told me he didn’t see a problem in restoring my breast to its original size, as well as providing a look natural enough to wear a strapless dress, and yes, even a swimsuit.
I am grateful to the hospital that took excellent care of me, beginning with mammography, then radiology, surgery, treatment and recovery; guiding me through this terrifying process, and offering me the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial that provided me with state-of-the-art treatment to wage war against the most formidable opponent I would ever encounter.
And I am most grateful that my wonderful doctor was right. I jumped on board mentally, and I believe in my recovery. I remain cancer-free.
Yes, I am a donor because I have a grateful heart. Plain and simple.
St. Charles resident Donna Burnidge was diagnosed with breast cancer in spring 2010 and was treated at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. She remains cancer-free.
About the Author
St. Charles resident Donna Burnidge was diagnosed with breast cancer in spring 2010 and was treated at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She remains cancer-free.