This is part five of the "Chasing Joy" blog series that will take you through the journey of one family to rescue their daughter, and walk alongside her in her healing journey.
My health was suffering. I had gained 70 pounds, drank alcohol in excess on a daily basis, and my stress level was out of control. One night, I went to bed but woke at 4am with severe chest pains. I thought for sure I was having a heart attack. I was home alone so I tried to sit, stand, walk -- anything to make it feel better. Nothing was working so I called 911. I remember the paramedic looking down on me and asking me if I was under any stress. I said “yes, why?” and wondered how they knew this. My mom had died 4 months prior and, of course, my daughter was on the street. I told him, yes, I was under extreme stress. He was the FIRST health provider that told me that I needed to get this under control or the future diagnoses would not be pretty.
About 3 months later, I quit drinking. Not only did I want to stop, I needed to. I hated myself, how I looked, how I felt, and I couldn’t envision a future without my daughter. I went in for a thermogram (a mammogram where you can detect cancer much earlier) and the technician sat me down afterwards. This was the first time I had met her; she knew nothing about me or my life. She kindly said to me, “I don’t know you from Adam, but I can see what is happening to your body. If you don’t do something to change your habits, you will be diagnosed with breast cancer within one year”. The films show the inflammation that are in our tissues and my breast was already starting to grow its own blood supply just like cancer does. I told her the brief version of what was happening in my life: my drinking, eating, and stress. How could I possibly cope without the wine? I had no clue… but God did.
The next day, January 4, 2016, was my first day of sobriety and I am happy to say I’ve gone over 3 years without ONE drop. I lost 70 pounds and my hormone and blood levels are at a healthy level now.