Two-time cancer survivor Brendalynn Consul has a very clear message for cancer and others who are struggling with it.
“You have two options: you can either sit there and cry and be depressed about what happened to me, but then I decided that I just couldn’t let that happen, I couldn’t feel sorry for myself; or you can tell the cancer where to go and fight. Yes, it is devastating, but life must go on, ”said Consul.
Consul from Santa Maria worked for Dignity Health Home Health & Hospice when she was first diagnosed in 2019. She worked on treating the ductal onset of her breast cancer, including surgery and radiation.
“The next year is coming and in the follow-up mammography they found the second cancer on the other breast. This time it was more invasive and triple positive, so a shocker. It was really scary, ”said Consul.
Brendalynn Consul does not give up her goals after two battles against cancer.
She had believed that she was clear with her treatment and nearing her career dream as a newly admitted student to the Certified Nursing Assistant program at Allan Hancock College.
Under the supervision of the Mission Hope Cancer Center Dr. Wei Bai underwent chemotherapy to shrink the 4-centimeter tumor before surgery, and finally chemotherapy.
“It was a shock. I just thought, oh my god. Just as I got through the first one, he’s back, and it’s even worse, ”recalled Consul.
The second fight affected her daily life more deeply. Consul lost her hair, lost weight and eventually quit her job to focus on healing, school and survival every day.
“I wonder how I did it, but one day my goal was to become a nurse. I just stick to it. There are days when I just want to give up, just want to die because you feel so sick, but in my head I tell myself, no, I have to do this. Cancer won’t stop me, ”said Consul.
She said the support programs at Mission Hope Cancer Center were of course key to her treatment, but also key to her recovery and financial survival.
“They have self-help groups, but I couldn’t use that with school. They were able to help me with my finance program and that helped me a lot at the time, especially when I had to quit my job, ”said Consul.
Mission Hope Cancer Center services include nurses guiding patients through care, social networking, nutritional counseling, transportation, lymphedema therapy, and genetic counseling. There are support groups, exercise groups, art therapy, and scarves wrapping sessions and makeup tutorials.
“My message would be: hold on. If I survive and still achieve my goals, I don’t see how someone else can’t get on with their life. Cancer doesn’t mean it’s over for you. Cancer will not stop me from achieving my goals, ”said Consul.