Survivor Stories: Savannah Loosestrife Austris

-A little about yourself?-
Well, i am 39 years old(Be 40 in late July). Been with my husband since i was 18. Step mom to 3. I am one of 9 kids(my parents believed in a large family).

-Survivor or Caregiver or both?-
Both

-What would you like to share about your fight??-
Myself- Well, i was 18 when i found a pretty massive lump in my left breast. So they took it away. After that, all normal mammograms since then. BUT fast forward to 2009. Went in for my normal lady exam. I believe May 25th we had gotten a phone call that we needed to come in the office. Myself and my mom went to this appt. Thats when we heard those words, You Have Cancer. So June 3rd i was taken back for what we thought was or a laproscopic hysterectomy. Nope, that didn’t happen. The doctors went to discuss with my husband and family. They had to do a full radical abdominal hysterectomy. Had to have 30 chemo and 21 radiation treatments. And here i am today!
As a Caregiver- April 2018 my amazing mom went for a mammogram. The dr had called with a date and time for my mom to go get a biopsy. A few days after that, we got a call to go meet with a surgeon. When we got there for moms appt, We had also met a Oncologist and Radiologist. Mom did indeed have Breast Cancer. May 14th my mom went into surgery for a lumpectomy. Approx 3 weeks later she started Radiation treatments. She had her last one on July 30th 2018. Since then, the only issues is scar tissue from the surgery and for the radiation treatments. She did have a whole lot of infections. But the doctors had said that is normal. But a year later, Mom is still cancer free!

-How has your life changed since your own/or loved ones diagnosis?-
I never take anything or granted. I always make sure to tell my loved ones I Love You, no matter what!

-What keeps you going day after day?-
My friends, My family.

-Do you have any advice you would like to share?-
Never give up. Always be brave. Be strong!

special thanks to Ari Anatine for conducting this interview!

Survivor Stories: Ari Anatine

More About Ari:

I was a caregiver for my dad who lost his battle to esophageal cancer. Am a survivor, was diagnosed with HERS 2 positive breast cancer Nov, 2017.

Joined Second Life in August of 2009. Worked as a host, a dj, a club manager. I joined Relay For Life of Second Life in 2010 and have been relaying ever since. Am currently one of the RFL season leads for 2019.

What would you like to share about your fight?

Was diagnosed with breast cancer Nov 2017. Had a lumpectomy Nov 14, 2017. Started chemo Dec 28, 2017. Started to lose my hair in January 2018 and decided to lose it my way so went and had it shaved off at a salon here in town, and the lady and I cried but told me she understood. We talked a while longer and told me the service was free. That was so sweet of her. I then moved onto radiation March 2018. By this time I was pretty worn out and developing neuropathy of my hands and feet. Ended up with radiation burns and my potassium and sodium levels dropped. Was very unsteady on my feet. Doctors continued to keep a close eye on me. I then moved onto Herceptin infusions. Those lasted for a year for me. Just finished them up January 2019. My body has taken a beating, but am still here…it was a long journey and still going on with ups and downs…but I survived and will continue to do so!

How has your life changed since your own/or loved ones diagnosis?

For one thing it definitely puts things into prospective. Don’t sweat the little things. I cherish every moment and everyone around me, not saying I didn’t before, but it is renewed with a stronger passion. Also, it has renewed my fight for Relay For Life. Sharing my experiences with people on how the American Cancer Society has helped me.

What keeps you going day after day?

My family, my friends, my love, Adam Spark, all the people I have met in Second Life and the Relay family.

Do you have any advice you would like to share?

I know its hard, but never lose faith or hope. Lean on your family and friends, they are there for you.

What keeps you going day after day?

I have fought and survived for my family AND myself. My family mean the world to me and I look after my body and diet as best as I can, to enable myself to be around as long as I can for them.

Do you have any advice you would like to share? What keeps you going day after day?If you have the chance of screening……do it. If you feel a lump or have any weird moles, go to the Dr. Do NOT put it off.

photo credit to Kaitlyn Pruitt