Breast Cancer Survivor Paris Lynch Shares Her Story and Her Positive Outlook on Life
Paris Lynch was diagnosed in May 2015 with stage one breast cancer, which was an infiltrating ductal carcinoma on her left breast. She thanks God that the tumor was found during her routine mammogram, and she says that she has a more positive outlook on life after cancer. Every day she tries to live by her motto: Live, Laugh, Love!
Here’s her story:
What events led up to your diagnosis or how did you discover you had cancer?
It was a routine mammogram. Usually, I get my mammogram in January, but that year I didn’t get it done until April, which is when they found the tumor. I had a feeling if I had gotten it in January, it wouldn’t have been there. I check my breasts every month and didn’t feel anything, but it had grown just enough for them to see it.
What were your first thoughts when you were told that you had cancer?
I kind of figured it was cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and I just had a feeling. I really didn’t feel scared – maybe because I had dealt with it with my mother. She is my motivation – my role model.
How did you choose to share your diagnosis with your friends and family?
I actually got the phone call at work, and I went ahead and told my coworkers. Deep down I guess I didn’t want to talk about it. I was probably really concerned, but I brushed it off, trying not to think about it. One of my coworkers had breast cancer as well. She was able to tell me more about it, and I was able to ask her questions.
I then called my husband, mother, and daughter and told them the tumor was cancer. My husband and I went to talk with the nurse navigator who further explained my diagnosis and the course of treatment. My mother and cousin went with me to see Dr. Castillos. I wanted my husband to keep his normal working schedule because I didn’t want him to be stressed.
Can you tell me about your course of treatment and how long you were in treatment?
I finished my last chemo treatment on August 30th last year after about 12 rounds of chemo. I didn’t start treatment right away because my kidneys shut down, so I was on dialysis for 30 days. The doctors in Rocky Mount said that I wasn’t hydrated enough after my surgery. Apparently, I didn’t drink enough water to flush my kidneys out, but I was able to start treatment in July 2015.
When were you declared cancer free?
I’m still taking the anastrozole pills for five years. In February 2018, my scan showed no sign of cancer.
What was your impression of Dr. Castillos?
I thought he was warm, friendly and very knowledgeable. He will break things down and explain them to you. He was very professional, and he works well with the patients. He wants to make sure you’re satisfied. I remember going to get my treatment once or twice and Dr. Castillos administered the chemo and also took my blood pressure. I think he does a little bit of everything. When I was in the chair getting my chemo treatment, he would always come by and make sure everything was okay.
What did your friends or your family members do or say that meant the most to you while you were going through treatment?
Just family and friends being there meant everything. I could do some things for myself, but my husband was an excellent provider. He always made sure I had a meal. I had an excellent support group with my family and friends. They all were there when I needed transportation. My daughter was in college, but she came home on the weekends.
What would you say your biggest challenge was or even now since then?
I’ve heard even when you’ve stopped taking chemo or any kind of cancer treatment, you’ll still feel some of the effects; some are long-term. I would say the biggest challenge is not letting those days get you down and not letting my body get tired because I still work. I just try to keep moving, try to keep going – even on my days when I feel tired.
What kind of things did you do to distract yourself from the treatment?
One of my coworkers said after she would get her treatments she would treat herself by going to her favorite restaurant. My favorite is shopping. Every time after my treatment, I would go and buy myself something. I remember buying a small tree with pink lights. It sits on my fireplace and will always remind me that I am a survivor.
Could you eat anything you wanted?
Some foods didn’t taste the same; I still tried my best to eat as healthy as I could. At the beginning of my treatment, Dr. Castillos advise me to stay away from tossed salads or any raw foods. He also told me to let water be my best friend.
What kind of exercise?
I attend a line dance class weekly. I’m also a member of planet fitness, so I go when I can.
Do you have any words of wisdom or advice that you would give to someone diagnosed with breast cancer?
I would just say live, laugh, love and pray as much as you can. When you get a cancer scare, your life isn’t over. Your body will never be the same after cancer, but you will survive! You get a different outlook on life – a positive outlook. Enjoy every minute of life. Try to stay active. Remember with God, all things are possible!