Cancer Survivor Marianne Robertson’s Story
“I’ve met some of the most important people in my life on this journey. My life has been enriched because of the caring loving people who have touched my life.” These are the words that stand out in Marianne’s “Cancer Survivor Questionnaire” she filled out for me. I ask everyone the same questions, and I am always stunned by the answers. Being a breast cancer survivor myself, you would think nothing would shock me on these questionnaires – the fact is, I am in awe of the positivity each survivor conveys.
Marianne lives in Thousand Oaks, CA with her husband, Gary and son, Clayton.
Marianne was diagnosed in 2011 with Stage 3 Invasive Lobular Cancer. She says “I went for my normal mammogram, normally I was in and out in 15 minutes. This time was different, the tech stopped visiting and she took pictures from different angles, after she was done she told me to waiting in the changing room but don’t change. Then I was taken for an ultra sound immediately. It was real quiet there too, all business no visiting. When she was done I was called into the doctor’s office. I knew this would not be good. There was a shadow that they couldn’t explain and wasn’t there last time . Two days later I was back for a biopsy. January 25,2011 I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma in the right breast. I got a personal call while I was teaching. I left the room to take the call. I heard the words, “I’m sorry it is cancer you need to see a surgeon ASAP”. That is when the real roller coaster started. In less than three weeks I consulted with my breast surgeon, medical oncologist, and my radiology oncologist. I had a full heart work up, PET Scan, MRI, bone scan and CT scan. I was completely exhausted and experiencing a level of fear that I didn’t even know existed.”
Unfortunately, the journey was just beginning. Marianne went on to have 7 surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. “These doctors, nurses, and techs were my dream team. After several months I figured out they wanted me to survive more than I did. Shortly after chemo started I figured that out in the middle of the night. If they could want me to live then I need to join the fight. That night I found my internal warrior and from that moment on I never looked back. I look forward to the day I can say “I had cancer 20 years ago.” My life is forever changed some good and some not so good but I’m here today.” says Marianne.
Even though the journey was a hard one, she knew she had to stay positive. She remembers a funny story from that time “I didn’t wear a wig. Most of the time I wore a pink camo ball cap that said chemo flage. One day I was having lunch with a friend and the waiter kept looking at my hat and after about 5 minutes he got it. He came back to our table laughing that it was really funny and it is important to keep your sense of humor when you are going through chemo.”
She also remembers how hard it was to just be a cancer patient “I felt like I was being treated like I was a “poor little thing” by some people. I am a ranch wife It was really hard to not do chores. I missed riding, gardening, cows, and taking care of my chickens..”
Her advice? It’s REALLY good! “Be careful of the internet there are sites that take advantage of your fear and anxiety”. She really hit the nail on the head with that!
Through all of the good & bad, Marianne had 2 songs that helped her get through