"Butterfly" By Betsy Achilles
My story has been both a blessing and a curse. But, my story is a success story. In my
kaleidoscope journey of breast cancer, I' ve grown beautiful wings and I've become a
beautiful creature. I have gracefully fluttered from one garden of breast cancer
survivors to another relying on their sweet nectar of love and support. And, I am
thankful for their kindness and generosity.
Diagnosis #1: 2007
"You have Lobular Breast Cancer", I was told by the Radiologist. I could not comprehend
what I was hearing. I sat in my car in the parking garage. Where should I go? What is
going to happen? Who do I contact first and what do I even say?
I called my two daughters, Marilyn and Barbara, and we came up with a plan.
After we processed this frightening diagnosis, I contacted a recommended Breast
Surgeon and Oncologist. I opted for a Bilateral Mastectomy, with Breast Reconstruction
Expanders and Silicone Implants. My surgery and chemotherapy were a success. And
soon thereafter, I made the decision to retire from a local Telecommunications
Corporation with 29 years of loyal service.
I did not adjust well to retirement. So, I studied and became a Certified Prosthetic
Fitter. I derived great personal satisfaction from fitting other breast cancer survivors in
beautiful and supportive specialty bras and post-mastectomy prostheses. It was also
very rewarding for me to fit them with stylish wigs and hairpieces. I enjoyed helping
them on their journeys, and helping them feel healthy and confident.
Diagnosis #2: 2013
Once again, the curse of breast cancer descended upon me. In 2013, I was diagnosed
with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. And I started again with more rounds of
Chemotherapy, Radiation, Hair Loss, and Side Effects. My Oncologist thought I still had
another good 5 years, or more, ahead of me. But my life would depend on Herceptin
infusions, once every three weeks, for the rest of my life. I was devastated, hopeful, and
I immersed myself into the San Antonio Breast Cancer Community, volunteering for
many local and national breast cancer organizations, foundations, fundraisers, and
telethons. For my service to the local breast cancer community, I was featured in SA
Because of my recurring breast cancer and my Stage 4 classification, my life and
metamorphosis journey have more meaning and more value. I don't waste time. I look
for beauty. And, I search for strength, love, and support from my breast cancer
Diagnosis #3: 2022
I had no idea when I registered to participate in the Cancer Chronicles that the curse of
breast cancer would descend on me for yet a third time.
But, I'm m still looking for beauty. And I am blessed …
"How do you become a Butterfly" Betsy asked.
"You must want to fly so much that you're willing to give up being a caterpillar "
BIOGRAPHY: BETSY ACHILLES
1. I am Betsy Achilles. I am a three-time breast cancer survivor and thriver.
2. I am a strong and clever woman. And, I am thankful for my amazing life and all
of those who have been a part of my life.
3. My beautiful daughters, Marilyn and Barbara, are my pride and joy. They, too,
are strong and clever women who encourage me every day in my colorful,
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