When I found a suspicious, thick area in my right breast, I immediately went to my doctor. Because I was only 35 years old with no family history of breast cancer and no real risk factors, my doctor sent me home and told me not to worry. I was very relieved, but unfortunately, also very misinformed.
This area in my breast continued to grow, so I returned to my doctor three months later. It was definitely a lump now, and this time he sent me for a sonogram and to a surgeon for a biopsy.
It was my oldest daughter's 11th birthday when I was diagnosed with stage II invasive ductal carcinoma. Because the cancer had spread to three of 23 lymph nodes, following surgery I had CMF and radiation—and lots of depression and anxiety!
Today I am proud to say that I have been a survivor for 17 years now, and am still going strong!!! I have survived with no thanks to my original doctor, but due to my faith and the best doctors and staff in the world. I have learned so much about this disease over the years and have talked with many other victims. And the most important advice I have to offer is: Never let a suspicious area or lump go unresolved. Insist on tests! Never be too proud to ask for help with the depression. (I was too stubborn and it cost me and my family some happier times—I now work for mental health professionals and realize how wrong I was.) And, keep your faith!
Sharon Spencer Schlesinger