Treatment: Chemotherapy, Radiation, Double Mastectomy
In 1981, I was 31 years old and had two boys aged 15 months and 3 months old. My 15 month old was playing on the carpet with me when he fell into my breast. I rubbed the area lightly as it hurt a little and I felt a lump. Fortunately, I had an appointment with my gynecologist already scheduled for four days later (as a follow up from the birth of my youngest). This was my first silver lining, as I would normally have procrastinated and not gone to the doctor.
Within five days I was hospitalized and was told that I had extremely aggressive breast cancer and lymphoma. But, I had a doctor who was absolutely incredible. I never had to worry or get a second opinion – that was my second silver lining. After my surgery, they had removed eleven lumps from my breast and seventeen lymph nodes, all of which were malignant. I was given two years to live, but my doctor treated me as if I had the rest of my life. Chemotherapy and radiation brought me right back to normal.
It returned nine years later, but not as serious. My lymph nodes were clear and there were only five lumps in my breast. It then returned eight years later, and at this point the only alternative was a double mastectomy.
I am now 56, my children are 25 and 26, and my health is good. Women must not give up or think of being diagnosed with breast cancer as a death sentence. There were so many wonderful things that have happened to me as a result of my breast cancer. I have made new friends. I have also spoken with newly diagnosed cancer patients so they can realize that there is life after cancer.
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