Working Mother, Wife, Volunteer, and now, Breast Cancer Survivor – A Reflection on her Cancer and Support Group


By: Michelle Vanderlinden, BCRC client

A little bit about me: I am a 47-year-old mom of an 18-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. For fourteen years, I have been married to my best friend and my rock. I work at home as a medical transcriptionist. I love sewing, reading, going for walks, watching movies, animals, and traveling. I volunteer at the animal shelter and I’ve begun looking into volunteering at the hospital and through the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas (BCRC). I want to give back to people that are going through difficult times and share my story with them. Hopefully it will give them hope to continue to fight. One day at a time.

Williamson County Support Group
Michelle is second from the left.

On my daughter’s 17th birthday, September 18, 2012, I found a breast lump while taking a shower; I tried to convince myself it wasn’t anything. I had seen my gynecologist six months before for my annual female exam. I always had my yearly mammogram and was due for my next one in October. I have no family history of breast cancer. And yet, I found a lump!

On September 28, 2012 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, Stage 2B – the type of cancer that is not hormone driven. I underwent many tests and scans. On October 19th I underwent a lumpectomy and port placement. Luckily, I only had cancer in the one lymph node and all my other tests came back clean.

My friend, Kelly, referred me to Patient Navigator Runi Limary. We discussed my treatment plan, which consisted of chemotherapy and radiation, which helped me immensely. It helped me know what to expect and what questions to ask. Treatment was hard, but we had to hit the cancer hard and give it everything we had. Triple negative is an aggressive cancer and chemotherapy is your best shot.

As of today, I am NED which stands for No Evidence of Disease!

Once I finished my treatment, it was then when I really needed the support. I was done doing everything I could to fight the cancer, but now what? Wait for it to come back? Going to the BCRC support group gives me hope and the peaceful feeling that I am not in this alone. I love connecting with women who have been through what I have. They understand. I have women all around me fighting to survive and live. It is not a part of a group that I ever wanted to belong to, but I am so thankful for it and I have met some amazing and wonderful women.

With these women, you can share your fears, your accomplishments, anything and not feel judged. It is truly a sisterhood and connection that I am so thankful to have. I try to live each day to the fullest. For that is all we have…today.

Please contact your patient navigator, visit our website or call our helpline at 512-524-2560 to find a support group.


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