Nearly one year after hearing her breast cancer diagnosis, Julia Steele-Collier has completed radiation therapy and reports she is ready to “get back to life” as she faces further therapies and surgery.
“I’m pretty good right now. I’m tired and have like a sunburn under my arms – other than that, I don’t have any pain. I have no eyebrows. I’ll learn to draw those suckers on if it kills me!”
Collier was in good spirits after her radiation graduation, and celebratory bell ringing, often joking as she looked back on the past 12 months.
“I’ve lost 40 pounds from beginning to end – that was a plus!” she said.
Her newly sprouted hair is also offering unusual observations.
“My daughter Kendra would call it a mousy brown with some gray in it. It’s kind of a big water stain looking thing,” she said with a chuckle.
Collier said she considers herself fortunate in her fight, which began with discovery of an enlarged lymph node. Biopsies, chemotherapy, several surgical procedures including manipulation of tissue expanders, as well as 25 radiation treatments followed her diagnosis.
“I remember being really scared, but it has all been relatively easy. Trust me. I’m blessed.”
Because her cancer was determined to be estrogen positive, Collier said she will continue to receive treatments to keep her ovaries “shut down” until a hysterectomy can be scheduled. Otherwise, she is ready to spend less time sleeping and more time with her husband, Tony.
“I really do want to get back to life,” she concluded.
Tony Collier said his wife’s approach to her health challenges has been admirable.
“She is brave and tough. She doesn’t see it, but she is.”
Story by TIM PRESTON