Meet Diane Hassinger, field staff of Ladies in Camo, as she tells her story of being a survivor:
“Four years ago, the call came that would change my life forever, “You have breast Cancer.” I can’t say that it was totally unexpected, as I had problems for 20+ years, many biopsies, lumpectomies and countless call backs for sonograms and mammograms. In some regards, it was almost a relief that now I could do what was needed to get the shadow of breast cancer off of me.
I have always taken the bull by the horns, and this time was no different. When my original Doctor was taking too long to do his job and schedule an appointment for me to move forward, I contacted a renowned breast surgeon and started the process to have all of my records sent to her, and got scheduled within days. The first visit with my surgeon proved I had made the right decision. She reminded me of-me! She is not good at candy coating things, kind of direct and to the point. I loved her! She outlined my choices, and I chose the complete bilateral mastectomy. While she initially thought I had not given enough consideration to my choice, I explained that I had thought long and hard for the past 20 years that when the time came, as I knew it would, I would get rid of all of the troublesome tissues and get a clean start. Within 2 weeks, I had my bilateral mastectomy, sentinel lymph node surgery and the start of the reconstructive surgery. I had my final reconstruction surgery just prior to Christmas that year. My best Christmas present ever!
At all times I was positive about my decision. My healing was fairly quick and soon my life was back to normal, at least mostly. I still struggle to get back to hunting poundage on my compound bow even today; a lot of the muscles in my chest area were destroyed in order to get all of the cancer. Those muscles control a lot of your pulling ability. Thank God, and Tenpoint, for crossbows!
Within 3 weeks of the surgery, I was salmon fishing and landing large fish on my own. I had to alter how some things were done, but I could do them! Pictures were taken with the fish balanced on rocks, but they were taken! I bypassed archery season that year, but against Doctor’s opinions, I started shooting my rifles and shotguns. My Doctors had no past experience with how the recoil would affect the lymph node areas under my arms. They worried that I would cause lymphedema with the repetitive recoil, and over use of my arms. Now they have a benchmark to use for other women hunters in their care-you can do it!
I am back to hunting, fishing, shooting and traveling. This year alone I have hunted South Africa, Canada and several states for alligator, bear, whitetail and plains game. I have suffered some disappointments hunting, but haven’t we all. But more importantly, I have been successful, not only harvesting some great trophies and food for my family, but also in beating breast cancer to the point that I am living the life I love.
I look at this whole breast cancer ordeal as nothing more than a speed bump in my life. I took care of myself and now I am in the passing lane once again! I am on Staff with Ladies in Camo, working with some of the most amazing women I know. I have been given the opportunity to help women be successful in hunts outside of their comfort zone, and the ability to use and product review many new and exciting products to the hunting community. I have a personal blog www.huntingmotherearth.com which was an outlet for emotions and triumphs during my recovery. Now it is my hunting journal and diary. I found it is extremely important to let those emotions out, and be able to talk to others about your journey. That helps you with your acceptance, and it helps others that are still on their own journey.
Look for an upcoming episode on Yeti’s Ultimate Hunt, highlighting my battle with breast cancer and return to a truly wonderful life. By not allowing cancer to dictate what my life will be, I have created a life that is open ended and exciting. I have many doors opening and opportunities to explore! That call four years ago did change my life, but by taking control and staying positive, it has changed it for the better!”
Personal Blog: http://www.huntingmotherearth.com/
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