When Linda Green first noticed a lump in her breast at age 53, she was in disbelief. It was May 2004, not even one full year since her most recent annual mammogram. After consulting her doctor, Linda was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.
“I was completely shocked because I had been diligent about annual check-ups, and also because the lump was large enough for the doctor to recommend a mastectomy and chemotherapy,” Linda explained. In June 2004, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy, and in August, began a five-month chemotherapy regimen. For Linda, her battle with breast cancer was surreal. “It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I could hear what the doctors were saying, but emotionally I needed to keep it at a distance in order to deal with it and make good decisions.”
Linda attributes the support from her family, friends, community, and other cancer survivors to helping her cope with the disease. Her husband Randy and son Matt played a significant role in easing Linda’s anxiety about the cancer possibly returning. “My family was with me every step of the way, and has really helped me move forward.” She is also grateful for the high quality of medical care she received from Dr. Philip McGee at Clearview Cancer Institute and Dr. Charles Warren at the Clinic for Women.
Linda’s garden represents paying it forward by helping others, just as her community of cancer survivors helped her. It also represents her hope that all who experience cancer will feel the love, caring, and support that she felt surrounded her. Linda’s garden includes pansies for friendship, Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea for breast cancer patients, rosemary for remembrance, and bamboo and thyme representing the courage and strength she derived from others.
Linda, cancer-free for five years, would like her experience with breast cancer to convey a message of hope. “We can all help each other through these difficult times. My journey with cancer has taught me that everyone has to have hope.”