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Surviving Breast Cancer Twice-My Story
I remember the terror that built within me the morning that I found a lump in my breast. Getting ready for work while in the shower I felt something there that just didn’t belong. Both my mother and aunt had died from cancer and it was always in the back of my mind, always lurking, always wondering if I too would be a victim to this deadly disease. Panic took over, as I did not know whether to go into work or try to get an appointment with my family doctor. I decided I would go and see the company nurse as soon as I got to work.
I was very much surprised to hear the nurse say to me “Oh it’s nothing, don’t worry about it, it is just a little bump that is probably a fatty node”. For the life of me I could not believe she just sloughed it off in this way. How in the world could she possibly come up with this diagnosis, by just touching my breast? Promptly I left work and headed straight to my doctors office.
After seeing me my family doctor had me into see a specialist that same week. Now riddled with complete fear and worry, I saw the specialist and within a week I was in the hospital having a lumpectomy as well as nodes taken from under my arm. Awaiting results was not an easy thing to do, but good news did come back fairly quick. The surgeon felt that she had removed all cancer so there should be no need for chemotherapy. But I would have to go to the Princess Margaret Hospital for follow up. The doctor I saw there was doing a study and asked me if I would like to participate. He then explained to me that he would hand me an envelope. In the envelope would be a card saying no radiation or radiation. I picked no radiation. When I think back now to this time of my life, it seems like a pretty bizarre way to screen patients for radiation. At the time I was quite happy picking the envelope stating no radiation.
Please do a Self-Breast Exam
Six Months Later
Six months had passed and I was happily involved with the love of my life. It was Christmas time and we were visiting his mother and family. For some reason the breast in which I had had the lumpectomy done was really sore. After the holidays were over I went to see my surgeon who immediately booked me in to have a biopsy done as the lump had returned. Awaking from surgery to find out the news that I had feared. It was cancer and my surgeons’ advice was to have a radical mastectomy done. I felt sick to my stomach; just when my life was going so well, why did this have to happen to me. If I had picked the dam envelope that said radiation, would I still be here today hearing that the cancer had returned.
Waking up after the mastectomy had been done, there sitting by my bedside was my boyfriend. We had only been dating for about three months, and yet he was my main support system, beside me all the way. I had met him shortly after having the first lumpectomy done and knew that this was whom I wanted to spend my life with. I had heard so many stories from women that as soon as there was a whisper of breast cancer, their boyfriends and even husbands hit the high road, not wanting to have any part in their lives. I was so fortunate to have this man in my life.
Chemotherapy this time around was a must. I went once every three weeks for six months. I would get depressed and feel sorry for myself, and get sick but I never felt hopeless and would constantly tell myself that I would survive this disease. I had too much to live for and there was no way that cancer was going to beat me.
People in Your Life
Have you or someone you know had breast cancer?
Cancer Returns in the Remaining Breast
The cancer returns four years later in the remaining breast. To read about my ongoing battle with this disease please read part two of my story.
Cancer Returns 23 years Later
In September of 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. I'm determined to beat cancer yet again even though all of my doctors have told me that it is incurable. It is in both lungs, a tumor in my chest, and small tumors in my neck throughout the lymph nodes.