I went for my first mammogram in 1987 and I
remember feeling the overwhelming feeling of fear come over me when I heard the
radiology technician in the other room ask someone to look at what she found.
Although I might not have been the only patient in the hospital at the time I
just knew she was talking about me. I could feel it in the pit of my stomach.
When she came into the room and saw the look on my face she tried to encourage
me but would not tell me anything. She said your doctor will have the results
in a day or two and he will explain everything.
When I finally saw the doctor he confirmed there
was something suspicious and that I needed to see a surgeon. The surgeon gave
me three choices: have a lumpectomy, have a mastectomy, or do nothing. I began
to do some research, sought a second opinion and then choose the lumpectomy
followed by 33 weeks of radiation because he said the chance of the cancer
returning was very slight. I had no cancer in my family history so I felt
comfortable about my choice.
Five years later my yearly mammogram showed that I
had another spot in the exact same place. My doctor suggested a “simple”
mastectomy and possibly chemotherapy. I remember yelling at him that
there was nothing “simple” about this procedure. I was frightened now – more
than the first time. I was more afraid for my family. Who would care for them?
Would I die? Would I see my daughters get married and have children?
much prayer and discussion with my husband and my family we scheduled my
surgery for April 15, 1992. I spent three days in the hospital. I spent the
next six months going through chemo treatments and then five years taking
It is 2009 and I have not had any other issues. I still see my doctor every year, have regular mammograms and play with my grandchildren as often as I can. I encourage you to get a yearly mammogram, do self exams and do not take it for granted that you will not get breast cancer just because no one in your family did or because of your age.
This is Michelle's daughter Becky. She shares her mom's story of courage also.
is a two-time cancer survivor. She first got breast cancer when I was a Junior
in high school. I was very scared that she could die from it then. She did
radiation after her biopsy and did great. I remember laughing at how tan she
was in just that one area of her chest.
years later, she had cancer again. This time I was living on my own and was
scared for her, not me. They told her that when they did the biopsy, if it was
cancer she would wake up without that breast. Sadly, she woke up without one
breast. She did chemo and showed a brave face each time. I had no idea just how
hard it was on her till after it was all over and we talked about it. I know it
wasn't easy to lose part of her body but I'm so grateful she's still here.
Her and I
did a relay for life walk just after my son was born. He was her reason to
relay. I talk with my mom each and every day. I sure would be lost without her
in our lives.