Phoebe Gray Chandler

Phoebe Gray Chandler Image

What a way to start the millennium! The middle of January 2000 came and I got the biggest surprise of my life. It all really started in September 1999 with my usual mammogram. Having had about five or six x-rays, I was then told to return the next day for additional x-rays. The doctor in charge said all was well. Then the January surprise – heaviness in my chest and a shortness of breath. I brought it to my husband’s attention and discovered a protrusion in my left breast. At that point, my husband advised me to see the doctor immediately.

I made the appointment to see my ob-gyn. He advised me to see a surgeon. The very pleasant surgeon took a fluid test and only found some fatty tissue. She advised me to have an ultra sound within two weeks. At that time, a minute tumor was found and the doctor still was not concerned. But, he insisted an exploratory surgery be done. It took place two days later. It revealed a 4.5 cm lubular tumor to the surprise of the surgeon who exclaimed, “this is a gift” – meaning that the early detection would insure localization of the growth. The pathologist indicated that this tumor had been in that area for at least five years.

My husband and I were then summoned to the doctor’s office and the announcement came: “You have breast cancer.” Even though the mass was in a good location, I thought my world was coming to an end. But I felt that I would survive. The Bible verse from the 118th Psalm (17th verse) came to mind: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” My daughter Beth and I had a consultation visit to decide upon a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. A lumpectomy was administered on April 12, 2000. The doctor removed 22 lymph nodes of which three were malignant. There also were four malignant areas. Following breast reduction on the right side, I had healing problems for about two and one half months. A third surgery (a mastectomy on June 14, 2000) was necessary.

Thanks to the nurses from Interim Healthcare who worked tirelessly to help me get back to good health. I could not have made it without my husband (Joe Douglass), my son (Joe), my daughter (Beth), and all my special friends at my churches in Branford and New Hampshire. I owe a special thanks to my sisters, Dorothy in Pennsylvania and Maureen in Maryland who came and stayed with me in Connecticut during my initial chemo treatments in the summer months. It certainly brought my family closer together than ever before. I give all the thanks and praise to the power of God for my complete healing. December 6, 2000 was my last chemotherapy treatment. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)