Q&A with Beth Morris
Beth Morris, 51 at diagnosis. Retired mortgage underwriter. Married, one child.
How did you find out you had breast cancer?
I noticed a change in the nipple because it was slightly inverted. I kept thinking that it was just my imagination. After about 6 weeks, I reported it to my doctor, and we started investigating with mammograms, biopsies, scans, etc.
What was your reaction?
At first, I was bewildered because there is no family history of breast cancer. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Those were my thoughts.
What treatment methods did you undergo?
My doctors recommended a breast-saving treatment plan that included 4 chemo sessions,lumpectomy and 33 radiation treatments. The process lasted about 6 months, and I played tennis and traveled to Europe during this time.
How has your illness affected your perspective on life?
I retired in 2006 and had really started to have some fun and didn’t want that to change … I have always had a strong will to do things my way, and I decided not to sacrifice my lifestyle. I captained one successful tennis team in a local league, and I was a member of a USTA team, which won the local, state and regional titles. I learned that it’s easy to play tennis without hair! Just put on a baseball cap full of ice or a ski cap, depending on the weather. I also traveled to Europe one week after my first chemo treatment. A river cruise through Germany was fantastic because the afternoons were quiet and perfect nap time. I left a lot of DNA (hair) there, and the airport security folks didn’t like my hats, but no hair meant more time sightseeing, and I didn’t have to pack shampoo.
Do you have any advice for others with breast cancer?
Keep doing what you love to do. It gives you something else to focus on. There may be a few days or weeks that are worse than others, but the drugs the doctors used really worked. This season, I’m on six tennis teams!