My Breast Cancer Story

Anyone can help find a cure for breast cancer. You can buy breast cancer awareness stamps. They might cost a few more cents but the rewards are finding a cure for this disease. Avon sells numerous items for breast cancer awareness such as candles, coffee mugs, teddy bears and breast cancer pins. Hallmark sells an adorable Teddy bear with the breast cancer ribbon on his foot. A percentage of sales goes to finding a cure for breast cancer. When you see a pink ribbon remember what the cause is for...

I had gotten a mammogram every year in February, my birthday month. I had been getting them for years. I had a few cysts taken out from both breasts over the years but they were not cancerous.

I had gone on February 1st of 1995. They started taking x-rays like normal except the nurse kept coming back in to get a clearer picture of my right breast. She came in about three extra times. I knew something wasn't right. She returned the last time with the pathologist. He said he needed to talk to me. He stated with, "I see something at 7:00 on your right breast. you need to have a biopsy done now. Should I call your surgeon?" I said, "No, that's okay." I would do it. He then told me not to put it off.

The next morning, I called my surgeon and on Valentine's Day, I had a needle biopsy. The pathologist that did the biopsy was not the same doctor who told me what was found. I remember being in the room trying to concentrate on a picture on the wall. The doctor had asked the nurse if I was okay because I was crying. I was wondering why he didn't ask me. I also remember the doctor telling the nurse he was not sure he got the spot. Well, guess what? They missed it!!

I had to wait for my breast to heal to do another mammogram, I think it was about 3 months but in my heart I already knew what it was. When I went in for the next mammogram the doctor again said the same words to me, "Have to do it now. Don't put it off.." I looked him right in the eyes and said, "What makes you think you can get it this time?" He assured me this time they would. I told him I wanted him to do it. I had very lumpy breasts and they were also dense making it difficult to read the mammograms. I had been told that for years.

A few weeks later, I had my second biopsy done. The following week, I went to my surgeon for my results and to take my stitches out.

I went to the surgeon's office by myself. The doctor and nurse came in, unbandaged me, and proceeded to tell me that what they found was "CANCER" and that he was going to send me to an oncologist who would explain what kind of cancer I had and what options were available to me. He also told me I would have to be back in a week with my decision. Ron and I saw the oncologist, who explained what I had was two different kinds of cancer, Intruducal Carcinoma and Tubular Carcinoma. Only two percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer are diagnosed with Tubular Carcinoma.

My mom developed breast cancer when I was 17 years old and passed away when I was 24. My son was then 17. I was scared more than I had ever been in my entire life.

I had two options, same as most women, a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Being at high risk, I knew I wanted a mastectomy. I was also positive I wanted a double mastectomy. When we went back to my surgeon's the following week I told him what I wanted and he agreed. I had micro-calcifications in my good breast I found out later and that they sometimes can turn into cancer in later years. I also told my surgeon that I wanted to see a plastic surgeon to have reconstruction done at the same time.

I went into the hospital on August 12, 1995. Notice it was a long time from the abnormal mammogram? With all the delays, first from missing the spot then getting everything scheduled. It had nothing to do with me putting it off. If nothing else, my Mom taught me about breast cancer and you don't put it off. You can lose your life that way, as she had.

I choose a Tram reconstruction. Which is where they take your fat from your tummy and make what they call mounds. I had heard so many stories about silicone and how saline leaks. I also knew this particular surgery was a longer process, but for once in my life, I was going to do something for me. My decision was going to be with me for the rest of my life. In the hospital, I was told the results of my lymph nodes. They told me that they were Negative!!! Which means I had stage "One" breast cancer.

At the end of August, I started on low dose chemotherapy (Cytoxan, Methotrexate, 5 Fluorouracil) and was told that it was for reassurance that the cancer would not come back since they couldn't tell if any cells have moved to any other part of my body. I had six treatments, three weeks apart. I had few side effects, which don't seem as bad now thinking of them 5 years later. However, when I was experiencing them, they seemed a lot worse.

In February of 1996, after my chemotherapy was done, I had the second part of my reconstruction done. I had my nipples put on from skin graft. They look like God put them there. I try not to think of the day when this might come back but I don't ignore it either. I have changed oncologists and I am going to the same doctor that my Mom use to go to. I still experience bouts of depression.

I have been going to a Breast Cancer Support Group for 5 years now. These Special women don't know what they have done for me. There is so much love in this group of women.

I have become a stronger person and more blunt. I believe that things happen for a reason. I also know that when you are going through the cancer treatment, where there is an obstacle, there is a solution and family, friends and your mind are the root to your survival.

UPDATE: Still Cancer Free after almost 6 years. :) I Still go to my Oncologist every 6 months for blood work and every year or so I request cat scans and bone scans for reassurance.

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Dr. Stieg is not only the best doctor, he has the caring and compassion to go along with it.
He feels with his heart and shows it. Hugs, Dr. Stieg!

Visit the 'Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer' Web Site
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Please, make your appointment today!

Please take the time to visit my other breast cancer related pages:

Breast Cancer Organizations and Information

Breast Cancer Personal Stories

Lymphedema Information


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