Michelle Homer

michelle homer

A year ago this month, I was coping with the effects of chemo and learning to rock wigs, fedoras and ballcaps.
My journey began with an annual mammogram in September of 2013. I get them every year because my mom is a breast cancer survivor. This one would be different.
After four months of mammograms, ultrasounds, a needle biopsy and surgical biopsy, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and ductal carcinoma in situ in January 2014.  My world stood still for a moment, but the diagnosis itself was easier than waiting for answers all those months. That was torture!
Emma Jacob was one of the first people I contacted. She was an angel and made sure I got in to see Dr. Anthony Lucci at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I knew I was in good hands the first time I met him.
The lumpectomy would turn up twin invasive tumors, but they were small and it looked like I would get by with radiation alone. That changed with an oncotype DX test that put my odds for metastatic recurrence higher than I was comfortable with. My oncologist recommended chemo and I reluctantly agreed.
I took time off from work during the first four months of weekly chemo treatments. I’m a TV news journalist with a stressful job and long hours are the norm. I decided to put my health first and focus on my recovery. I’m not sure how people manage to work while coping with the extreme fatigue and other symptoms caused by chemo!
I cried a little when the first clump of hair came out in the shower. My hair stylist is a friend who agreed to shave my head, which I highly recommend for anyone about to tackle chemo! We decided to make a party of it, complete with champagne and pink boas for everyone. There were no tears that day. We were all too busy laughing!
I had some tough days along the way, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. I shared my journey on Facebook and the support I received from family, friends -- even total strangers -- was amazing! I was so touched by all of the people who took time out from their busy lives to send me cards, gifts and uplifting messages along the way. I was reminded daily how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life, including Emma.
It was impossible to feel sorry for myself during my weekly visits to M.D. Anderson, surrounded by so many people who were much sicker than I was. I met many fellow breast cancer warriors who had come to Houston from all over the country for treatment. These women had to put their lives on hold and leave their loved ones behind to fight their battle. It made me realize how lucky I am to live so close to one of the world’s best cancer centers.
Now my hair has grown back, my energy has returned and most of the symptoms from chemo and radiation are gone. For those just beginning their journey, you will likely be amazed to discover how strong you really are! Just take it one day at a time and let your family and friends help you along the way. You’re going to be just fine.