With the addition of the Silhouette CAMEO® 3 Pink Edition and a partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), we have been able to hear stories from women who have fought or are fighting breast cancer. One particular woman, Terri Johnson, is someone that we have worked closely with for years. We participate in the All Things Silhouette Conference that she puts on each year and have come to know her really well. Recently, she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.
Not only is Terri a die-hard Silhouette user, she also is an inspiration to us. She gladly shared her breast cancer journey with us, and we hope that it provides comfort and hope to anyone battling with this terrible disease. At the end of the day, we want to help to change lives and make lives better.
“My journey with breast cancer actually started almost 35 years ago when I was 27 years old and 6 months pregnant with my second daughter. I found a lump in my breast and showed it to my OB/GYN. He referred me to a surgeon, and after the biopsy, my surgeon said to me, “We have bad news and good news. The bad news is that it’s malignant, but the good news is that it is very small. We are doing a mastectomy tomorrow.” As you can imagine, my husband and I were reeling—our greatest concern was for our unborn baby. I was in a great hospital with great doctors, and there was an army of people praying for us. God heard those prayers. The baby was at risk for premature labor, blood loss, and oxygen loss, but she went full term with no problems and is now the mother of one little boy and another baby on the way.
In the early years after my mastectomy, I thought about cancer a lot. I worried that it would spread or that it would reoccur. There was no internet to do research, and I was given very little information. My greatest concern was whether I’d be around to raise my two girls. However, as the years went by, I worried less. I was busy raising a family, and my husband was in the Navy and deployed a lot. With every check-up that gave me clear results, I relaxed a little bit more at the thought of a reoccurrence.
Fast forward to January 2017 when I detected a lump in my other breast. The biopsy confirmed that it was malignant, and I went in for another mastectomy. This time, I was diagnosed with Stage 3, triple positive breast cancer. If you don’t know what that means, don’t feel bad—neither did I. Basically, it means that the cancer spread to the lymph nodes. The cancer I had was positive for all 3 hormone receptors: estrogen, progesterone, and HER2. That isn’t the best news, but I’ve learned it surely isn’t the worst news either. A PET scan showed no evidence of metastatic disease, so my treatments began.
Over the past year as I have gone through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, I have been surrounded by the most amazing support system. First and foremost, I have my wonderful husband and my family. They have watched over me, cared for me, and been the encouragement that I have needed every step of the way. I’ve had an incredible team of doctors, who have explained things to me, provided treatment plans, and given me encouragement and hope. I’m not going to lie; the treatments have been rough, and there were days I wondered how I would get through everything. But one day my oncologist told me, “It isn’t lost on me how difficult this is. You might hate me for 6 months, but you are going to love me in 5 years!” That was what I needed to hear!
God has also blessed me with dear friends who have done everything they could have to help, from bringing meals to regularly sending me texts, cards, and little gifts to cheer me up. Some of these friends are longtime friends, friends from church, and my Silhouette friends and family. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support shown to me from the Silhouette community and the friends that I have made at Silhouette America and All Things Silhouette conferences and retreats. It seems that God knew just when I needed something, and when I did, I would receive an email, a text, a card, or a gift in the mail from one of my Silhouette friends. All of those things have helped me more than any of you will ever know. Perhaps the most touching moment for me was when, at the last All Things Silhouette conference in June, my friends from Silhouette America presented me with one of the pink CAMEO 3 machines (and some other lovely gifts) while they were all wearing their “Team Terri” pink ribbon shirts! I was blown away.
I’m so thankful for the advances that I see in treatment for breast cancer since my first bout with it. Things have come a long way! At the time of my first diagnosis in 1983, there was little information available to me. I’m grateful for organizations like NBCF, who are providing mammograms, education, and support for women facing this disease. They are also funding research to help in the fight and make further advancements in personalized therapies!
I’m also thankful for corporations like Silhouette America who give back by partnering with NBCF to help in this fight. Research and treatment are expensive! It is going to take all of us pulling together to beat this disease. I’m proud of my partnership with Silhouette America, and I’m so grateful for the friendship and support they’ve given to me!
I’ve learned and seen so many things this past year on this journey. God has, once again, shown me His love and walked with me every step of the way. Going forward, my prayer is that I can somehow be an encouragement to other women going through this battle and help them in any way that I can!”