Editorís note: This is the fourth in a series of stories on area cancer survivors as the date nears for the 2013 Relay For Life at James B. Abraham Stadium in Lonoke. The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 26. It concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday, April 27.
My name is Lori Cole and I am a 12 1/2 year cancer survivor. This is my story.
Beginning in November 2000, I was 35 years old and diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. I had surgery to remove the cancer followed by 6 chemo treatments of what they call red devil ó it was some pretty evil stuff. However, as bad as the chemo made me feel, losing my hair was probably the most traumatic experience even though I was prepared.
I had gone out and bought several wigs, a blonde one, a red one and a brown one. However, when my own hair started coming out in big handfulls I found out real quick that I wasnít prepared mentally or emotionally. I also had 36 radiation treatments followed by 6 more chemo, where I lost all of my hair again. After that I had several more surgeries over the next couple of years to remove every body part that I could possibly live without so the chance of cancer coming back wouldnít be as great.
Then in November 2004 I was told my breast cancer had spread to my liver. This time I was diagnosed with Stage 4 inoperable breast cancer in my liver. Being the second time around didnít make it any easier when the doctor came into the room and said your cancer has returned. I remember being SOOOOO angry!!!!! I was crying and screaming at the top of my lungs. You see Stage 4 in the cancer world usually means death and soon.
I began chemo treatments immediately to face this challenge. Currently, I am taking treatments every week and yes, again losing all of my hair. My liver tumors have gotten smaller and my numbers are holding steady. The advances made in medicine, provided by the research from organizations like the American Cancer Society, have not only allowed me to survive but to live with cancer.
You know itís really not so much about the challenges that we face. Itís how we choose to deal with them and how we come out on the other side that really matters and makes us who we really are. Without prayers, faith, love and support from family and friends, I could not have been successful in this battle.
My battle is far from being over but I feel strongly that God has a purpose for me and he is not through using me for that purpose yet.
If I could leave you with a few lasting thoughts today, it would be to include God in every aspect of your life, Believe, have Faith, have Hope and never, never, never give up!!!!!!!!!!!!!