Terry Lewis is known for her positive outlook on life. This character trait proved even more invaluable to her this past year, as she began her battle against breast cancer.
In November 2009, Terry went in for a routine mammogram. The radiologist felt like something wasn't right, so ordered a follow-up needle biopsy. The results were atypical – a shock to everyone, including Terry. A subsequent lumpectomy in January 2010 confirmed the worst – Terry had breast cancer. After consulting with her family and doctors, Terry decided to undergo a bilateral mastectomy in early February. During surgery, her doctors found a malignancy in one of her lymph nodes, which put her at Stage IIA, requiring chemotherapy treatments to ensure all cancer was eradicated from her body.
Terry’s chemo treatments began the end of March 2010, and continued for 18 weeks. The side effects weren't pleasant – fatigue, weakness, and loss of hair, fingernails, and taste – but still Terry's outlook remained optimistic. "A positive attitude makes all the difference," says Terry. "I never thought of myself as a victim. It's easier said than done, but being negative doesn't make anything better."
Herb, Terry's husband, is always by her side, and provides constant inspiration and support. They both love to travel, and even managed to enjoy a cruise on the Baltic Sea only two days after her last chemo treatment. Terry also credits her two sons – Brian, with wife, Leigh, and Barry – plus her large support group of friends and family (especially her church family) for really reaching out to her during this time. Her life was deeply touched by people through her CaringBridge website, which was a great source of communication and encouragement.
For her garden, Terry chose a blaze of blue pansies symbolizing her own "sea of tranquility" like a garden represents. Intermixed with the pansies are pink tulips, emphasizing the fight against breast cancer. All are framed by beautiful white snapdragons.
Terry has recently undergone reconstruction surgery, and is doing well. When asked what advice she’d like to give others going through a similar situation, she confidently states, "Always look for the positive, knowing you can confront this 'bump in the road' and move beyond it."