In honor of October being breast cancer awareness month, I wanted to share Heather’s story with you, “HER”Story. Heather is someone I have known all of my life and truly is an amazing woman, with a tremendous amount of quiet strength. She is an extremely talented florist for Eden’s Bloom and I wanted her to incorporate her amazing work in the pictures I took of her!
Heather was diagnosed with Stage 4, Metastatic breast cancer, in April of 2014. She can still remember the shock of that day as her sister Heidi was there with her in the medical room. Most people catch their diagnosis in the early stages, but because she was diagnosed in the later stages, her chances of survival were really low, under 20%. Her thoughts immediately went to, “what is going to happen to my girls?” Heather is a mom to two beautiful girls, so even though she isn’t afraid to die, she definitely wants to be there for her daughters. She was pretty anxious about the treatments.
What got Heather through this hard time was her faith in God. Even though she knew God did not give her breast cancer, He definitely used this bad situation to draw her closer to Him. She realized how she use to just do the right things more religiously, instead of out of relationship. Her relationship with God grew so much as her faith was truly tested. He was her strength to get through each day, each treatment, and each struggle. She stood on God’s word and refused to listen and believe the statistics of her diagnosis. She is alive today and truly has God to thank for it!
Heather’s breast cancer is in remission, but for the rest of her life she will still have to get chemo for three weeks out of a month. Some days are harder than others, especially when fatigue or nausea kicks in. I was disappointed to hear how people treat her differently when they find out she is on disability. Because they do not outwardly see her struggle and do not know “HERStory,” they just assume she is using the “system.”
She has realized how much of a stigma there is and really wants people to treat everyone with love and respect, because you really have no idea what any one is going through. I could not agree more! We truly do not know what is going on in someone’s life and they do not owe us an explanation. It is vital to remain non-judgmental and loving to all because people do not need any more negativity when they are going through a hard time.
Unfortunately, Heather has brought to my attention that only about 2% of the funds raised for breast cancer go towards Metastatic breast cancer. Most of the money goes towards early detection treatment. Metastatic breast cancer is what most women diagnosed with breast cancer die from. It is important for more light to be shed on this issue. It is needed so that more women, like Heather, who are diagnosed with Metastatic cancer, can have hope that they can overcome these terrible statistics.
Heather is reminded of her journey everyday because of the scars on her body. The treatments have changed her skin and she can not have reconstruction surgery, but she has realized that the scars tell “HER”story. The scars are a reminder that she is an over-comer and that through God all things are possible!
Thank you Heather for sharing your heart and journey with me. I appreciate you educating me and others on Metastatic breast cancer. I hope it helps others and that more treatment can be available for people diagnosed in the later stages. I am amazed by everything you have gone through and the hope you have! You are beyond beautiful and extremely talented. Thank you for being YOU!