When cancer treatments end, a new chapter of life begins.
One survivor from Florida shares what her life is like after beating the disease.
“I am the face of breast cancer. My name is Julie Vieth and I’m a survivor,” breast cancer survivor Julie Vieth said.
A breast cancer diagnosis turned her world upside down.
“Why me? How am I going to tell the kids? What does it truly mean? How far a long is it? Am I going to be around for the kids?” Vieth said.
From her first treatment, Vieth dreamed about the day she would ring the bell to celebrate the end of her cancer treatment.
“Frankly, part of you is not sure that you’re going to make it there, because those first few treatments are so difficult,” Vieth said.
But she did ring the bell. Still, she never imagined what life would look like after cancer.
“I always figured one I would be done with the treatments and rest a little, everything would be back to normal, but it’s not,” Vieth said.
During treatment Vieth had several lymph nodes removed, resulting in lymphedema: swelling caused by too much lymph fluid. Along with physical scars, Vieth says there are emotional scars. Any minor ache or pain sparks the fear of reoccurrence.
“I do feel a lot more fragile than I used to. I didn’t think there was much to stop me, but this did,” Vieth said.
Although life after cancer is nothing like she imagined it, Vieth says she is thankful to be here.
“You do feel stronger. I mean you fought something that was really attacking you. So there is certainly a sense of accomplishment there,” Vieth said.
Vieth says having a good support system during and after treatments were vital to her recovery.
Women can begin yearly screening for breast cancer once they reach age 40.