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Life and the lessons
Mommy Musings 6-19-24

I was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Well, if being both accurate and factual that should read, I recently learned I have a cancer recurrence.

For those new to this space, as well as those who have followed and are now perhaps as shocked as my family and I were, here’s the CliffsNotes breakdown.

In April 2020 following the discovery of a painful lump in my right breast, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. We went at it hard, pulling out all the stops. Two separate types of chemotherapy, surgery to remove the lump, radiation and a double mastectomy; we did it all.

By summer of 2021 we believed we were in the clear, until that September. September of 2021, I experienced my first recurrence. More treatments, surgeries and good … or was it? Nope. Fall of 2022 another recurrence, still right side, however now we’re hearing words from my team at UCSF Oncology of “rare and unusual,” so more radiation as well as some preventive chemo for two-thirds of 2023.

By the fall of 2023 a pathology report of tissue showed ‘No Cancer.’ Praise God.

Sadly, sometime in May of this year I once again felt a painful lump. I shared the painful part, because there is a myth amongst women, prompted by the medical world that “if it’s painful, it’s likely not cancer.” As a woman who has now been diagnosed with breast cancer four times (two of those being painful) since 2020, I’m here to beg you all to please stop sharing that misinformation.

Barely a week since confirmation of my biopsy a lot goes through my mind. The emotions over the past week have run the gamut; mostly anger.

Anger for my kids who have walked this battle now since the ages of 12 and 15. Anger for my mother who now watches her only child go back at the unknown and anger for my partner, who’s already lived his fair share of tragedy.

Yet here we are.

Walking this now for a fourth time there are certain things I’ve learned, as well as allow myself. Feeling my emotions and being true to them is critical. I’m very openly honest with those close to me. My feelings are valid, your feelings are valid, only you know how it feels to be in your unique circumstance.

Sure, lots of people have cancer. Lots of people survive cancer, yet no two cases or people are the same – so feel what you feel and move on.

That’s where we’re at in today’s episode of Mommy Musings and what the heck is this life.

As I worked through the anger, I began to notice a certain awareness in varying areas has become heightened. My hope is by sharing these lessons as the weeks and months go on, others will benefit.

Part of this chapter is diving in deeper than ever before to the alternative treatment options, the homeopathic, meditative, holistic approach. Each time before this, I’ve read my fair share of books as well as listened to Podcasts on this very topic.

If being honest, however, I did not embrace it at a 100 percent level. I leaned into the traditional protocol and my faith. Like many, I quite honestly trusted the process.

However when one of the leading hospitals in the nation for this type of cancer offers you an integrative oncologist, two things come to mind. First, why would you say no? And second, time to get on board. Time to take all the things, all the practices and put it all to work in a positive way.

So much in my mind as I’m typing that I haven’t even touched on the topic I intended for this column space. With just a few paragraphs of space left I’m going to save it for the next column.

Before going into that topic, I will share that as I’ve been reading I’ve been challenged by the areas of my life I can alter to make me mentally better and release unnecessary stress. The learnings of these readings were echoed when I recently happened upon the Netflix documentary, “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.”

So fascinated by these “blue zones,” that I honestly plan to watch this documentary multiple times so the lessons sink in. It’s just that important to me.

For now, we’ll end this with some good news.

Each recurrence continues to be right side. This means we are holding tight at a Stage 3 diagnosis. God willing it has not progressed to another area. We celebrate that. I’m equally blessed with a tribe and community of friends that’s truthfully unimaginable. So whatever it takes to beat this, we will.

Lastly, I trust my team. I trust God and I trust there is a reason I am continuing to be placed with this challenge.

So, just as I learn as I go, I will share with those who care to follow and perhaps learn a bit as well.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.