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Surviving Cancer: Sarah Cook’s Story

woman hugs man

June is National Cancer Survivor Month. As of January 2022, it is estimated that there are 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States according to the American Cancer Society. This represents approximately 5.4% of the population. 

Sarah Cook, a TOI patient who has won her battle against breast cancer, shares her inspiring story from diagnosis to treatment completion:

“Following a routine Mammogram for some non-concerning cysts, my life as I knew it was over. I was forever changed and inducted into the club none of us asked to join. I was diagnosed with stage 1B breast cancer (Invasive Ductal) in May of 2021 at 39 years old with no family history of breast cancer.

My original plan of treatment looked like a lumpectomy, radiation, and 5 years of Tamoxifen. With my army of prayer warriors, amazing support system, and medical team, we had a plan to beat this.

I had a lumpectomy and reconstruction at the end of September where they found involvement in 1 node and an Onco-type score of 29. So much for the plan, Chemo was a must. That day was the first day I really cried.  My cancer has progressed to a Stage 2 diagnosis. The end result was still the same. I would beat this however the road to get there was different than we planned.

I began treatment in November. 4 Rounds of AC, 12 of Taxol, 20 injections, 2 ER visits, countless lab draws through a very stubborn port, and days I could not get out of bed. Every single day was a choice to fight. I had to fight for my Husband, beautiful kids, and the life we have planned. My incredible nurses at The Oncology Institute Murrieta/Temecula were my angels. They went above and beyond to make sure I had the best care and support. We laughed, encouraged each other, overcame challenges and I rang that bell on April 19th!

I am almost done with 29 rounds of radiation this coming week and so very ready to take my life back and live it to the fullest. I am so grateful for my team of oncologists, nurses, surgeons, and radiologists and the day we declared victory.

Remember when I said my life as I knew it was over? Yes, it was. But the life I know now is so much greater. Who I am has changed because I am a fighter, a warrior, and a survivor.

Whether you have been battling cancer for one day or 10 years, you too are a survivor.

  • Preventative screening is so important. Do not skip your annual exams
  • Don’t waste time and energy on the things that don’t matter. There’s so much more to this life that deserves your love and attention
  • Hug your loved ones. Do it right now. Tell them how much they matter
  • Support local cancer resources. Michelle’s place in Temecula is a great local organization that is doing amazing work and has blessed me and so many others
  • God is good. He doesn’t promise that things won’t be hard but he promises that he will be there with you through it all.”

At TOI, we are proud to provide treatment year-round to patients and their families that leads to improved outcomes. Whether someone is still undergoing treatment or has long since won their battle against cancer, we are happy to celebrate and support survivors in all capacities.

With you through every step of your cancer journey

Learn more about starting treatment at a location near you

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