and I started to get this pain in my right breast and arm. My thoughts were that it was because I was lugging around my huge suitcase at the airport in Rome. However, upon further examination, I felt a lump in my breast. When I returned home, I scheduled an
appointment with my OB/GYN, who in turn scheduled an appointment for a biopsy because of that lump in my right breast.
Several days later, I received a call from the doctor informing me I had breast cancer. I had DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, 3/6/14). I was home alone, so I
stood there in my home feeling hopeless and speechless, not knowing what to do. An appointment was set up for me to see a surgeon at Smilow Cancer Center. I was
confused and did not want to tell anyone. I had just been through what I thought was the greatest challenge in my life, the death of my husband and granddaughter in May of 2013, and here I am now diagnosed with breast cancer.
What now? I was at a loss. My girl friend Shirley Allen, a breast cancer survivor, stepped in and supported me 150%. She attended my first visit with the surgeon and took notes because I was so nervous as to what was going to happen. I was told my treatment would consist of surgery and radiation treatments for six weeks. No chemotherapy was scheduled at this time, so I was grateful to God for that.
The conversation of being diagnosed with cancer had to begin at some time with my family, so I called each of my children to inform them what was happening. I did my best to inform them on how they could support me. Some of them became very emotional, but with love and understanding we were able to talk it all out. I could not believe just how calm I was about the entire situation.
Then the “PANIC” button seemed to kick in. I decided I was not going to have the lumpectomy, but a total mastectomy because I wanted to make sure I could rid my
body of the cancer. I canceled my scheduled lumpectomy surgery. My oldest daughter, a surgical nurse, felt that would have been too drastic a move. So, I
changed my mind and re-scheduled a lumpectomy.
My surgery was successful, along with my treatment, and this year I celebrate six years of being cancer free. My thanks go first to my God, whom I put my trust in with all my being. I thank my friends, Shirley Allen and Sandra Fischer, for their support during this journey. I also give thanks for my family and church family who prayed for me constantly as well as my surgeon, radiation and oncology doctors.