How I Learned.... You can live with breast cancer.

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) DRE# 00809499

A lovely bunch of coconuts... Susan B. Komen WalkLast Saturday I walked with my daughter in the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Walk for the Cure. Our team was A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts.  I'm in a pink shirt. I'm a survivor.  For me, it's been 3-1/2 years.

The day I got the call after my routine mammogram was a life changer.

I'm in the kitchen.  The phone rings. "Mrs. Dunbar, this is Kaiser."  Hmmm, why are they calling, this can't be good. "We need you to come in for a biopsy.... routine.... breast cancer.... percentages... blah, blah, blah...will next Thursday be OK?"

My mind went numb... head spinning. Reeling, to be exact. It's got to be a mistake.  NOT ME.  I'm healthy.  I'm going to live to be 100. I can't frikkin die... my girls need me. 

I somehow am upstairs.  "Davey.... I just got a call"  I burst into tears. Sobbed. His massive arms envelope me, willing their protection. Our lives changed at that moment. My girls would be motherless... he must remarry.  They need a Mom. We don't have a will. ZZZZRRRRRRTTTTTTTTTT (the sound of needle on a record)  "Wait. Sal, what did she say exactly?" I dunno, but I took notes.

We sit at the pute, and google the words she said. ....Not life threatening... not invasive.... 100% cure rate... OH. Maybe it's not so bad.

In 10 minutes I went from planning the qualities of my husband's next wife, to realizing it would be OK.  I wasn't going to die.

After the biopsy confirmed the diagnosis, I had surgery to remove the demonic cells (and caught up on a season of 24 lying on the couch). 

One week later I run an auction for charity at my office.  It's pretty intense. I don't have the results of the surgery yet.  I should have heard.  I stupidly check my voicemail while setting up. "Hello Mrs. Dunbar... It's probably nothing... sending to UC San Francisco... second opinion... oncology... specialist...blah,blah,blah."  Numb again.  Reeling again. UC Frikkin Francisco??? Why do they need to send my flesh there?  I thought this was a slam dunk. Oh crap, I'm dying for sure.

But trooper up girl... you've got an auction to run.

I do my best to ignore the shattering shock of the phone call. The auction is a tremendous success.  We raise over $30K in our little parking lot for the Salvation Army and C.A.R.E.  Afterwards I cry again. I'm a dead duck. A few days later.  Doc calls.  It's all fine. It was nothing. Just the same cancer they originally thought it was.

I go through radiation.  I take tamoxifen... 5 years of it.  I take 4 months off from real estate, and walk the trails of the American River Parkway every day, hand in hand with my supportive hubby.  I make music CD's for the radiologists.  I quit eating junk food. I drop 8 pounds. I stop and smell the roses. 

And I read.  Everything I can find on what I have.  I find out it isn't so bad.  In fact, with all my contributing factors... normal weight, good diet, excercise, no other history in my family, take tamoxifen, do radiation, etc.... I have only a slightly higher risk of getting cancer again as anyone else.

Are you kidding me?  And I freaked out like I was dying?  I planned my husband's next bride for nothing?  I went through all that.... and I'm fine as the next guy????  Amazing.

So the moral of the story is,

1. Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence

2. Time off can be pretty cool

3. Find out the facts of any diagnosis before you get all girly hysterical

4. Realize stress kills.  And the stress you unecessarily bring on yourself from your scared s**tless freak-out may do more harm than your medical problem, which may not be so bad, afterall.



Check out my other posts that might be of interest.....

HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS..........Buying a Home, Selling a Home, Loans, What Happens if....

LOCAL INFO................................. Fair Oaks, Carmichael, Sacramento, Folsom, Citrus Heights

ABOUT SALLY DUNBAR.................. How I learned to...., Personal stuff, My Wordless Photos

OTHER STUFF............................... Inspiration, Attitude, Humorous Stuff, Charity, the Economy

TECHNOLOGY, BLOGGING ............. Active Rain, Technology

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Your Fair Oaks Realtor for homes for sale in Fair Oaks and the Sacramento Area of California.... I'm your gal (Sally Dunbar). I'm occasionally knowledgable, periodically humorous, and always willing to tell you everything I know.  What more could you ask for?

Here are the newest listings for Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Carmichael, Gold River, and Roseville - all CA, of course.

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Sally Dunbar, 35 year Broker Associate, Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks, CA (916) 524-1548, "Your Fair Oaks Realtor"


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Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Roanoke, VA
Retired and loving life

Hi Sally-Thank you for sharing your story and I am glad to know you are doing well. Cancer doesn't play favorites. You are one of the lucky ones. Life each day to the fullest. Have a great evening and Weds. <SMILE>

May 12, 2009 12:56 PM #1
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Sally:  I am so glad to know all this about you!  What a strong lady you are.  It's a pleasure to have you on my side....of what...I don't know...but I'd rather have you on my side than against me.  :)

May 12, 2009 01:55 PM #2
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

SNO - there you are... number one.  Thanks and I will have a great evening... and rest of my life.  A very long one, I might add.

Chris Ann  - You got it girl... I'm on your side.  Of what, I don't kow either, but I'm there.  And strong??? what are the alternatives?  It's kind of like when people who are called heroes for something they did.  In many cases, what else you gonna do?

May 12, 2009 02:00 PM #3
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC

Great story,

Went through something similar with my daughter. Turned out benign, but she freaked for a while.

May 12, 2009 05:58 PM #4
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Sally, Congratulations for being one of the Survivors. Looks like you have a lot of support...

Your building consultant for life in Nashville, TN

May 12, 2009 09:02 PM #5
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Terry - glad your daughter is fine.  It can kinda freak you out, tho.  That would be hard as a dad.

Michael - Yes I'm so lucky. I'have heard of women whose husbands turn their back on them when they get breast cancer.  They should be strung up by their thumbs (or worse), if you ask me.

May 13, 2009 01:16 AM #6
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

God Bless You Sally ! Congratuations for being a survivor --and you and your girls are a lovely bunch of coconuts!! What a terrific post!! It is amazing,

May 14, 2009 03:36 PM #7
Kent Simpson
Realty One Group Mountain Desert - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Is About People

Sally - you are not only a survivor, but an inspiration for many you may never know...and a good role model for your daughters to follow.  Thanks for sharing the emotional pendulum you went through with us, and the realization that it is normal to feel the full swing!

May 14, 2009 03:42 PM #8
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome


Not only are you a survivor, you are a Triumphant Survivor. You also are a darn good writer. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

May 15, 2009 02:03 AM #9
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Mary - Wasn't that a great group name?  One of my daughter's co-workers came up with that name. the coconut bras were a crack up.  Definately felt safer when we were in a group wearing them.

Kent - thank you.  I don't know how to not feel the entire roller coaster, but for me, the lesson was that you can make it so much worse than it actually is through your own mind drama.  Just relax and take it as it comes.

Margaret - Thanks, girl.  I don't seem to be able to help myself from sharing my life with ya'all. I keep trying to write about interest rates, and real estate issues, but keep coming back to lessons from my life.  I live the real estate stuff every day... for decades, so it's not as much fun to write about.  And I simply can't write just to get business.  Maybe once I get the lessons out of my system, I can focus on real estate issues..  I feel possessed!  Thanks for checking in.

May 15, 2009 03:33 AM #10
Coleen DeGroff
eXp Realty - Gainesville, FL
Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL


OMG. I cannot even imagine. But I am so happy you came thru the other side!!  You ROCK!


Nice coconuts, by the way.


Hugs to you,

Coleen :)

P.S. Thank you for subscribing to my blog.

May 22, 2009 04:09 AM #11
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