Gwendolyn Bell

My mother found out she had breast cancer at age 39 and died from it just past her 48th birthday.

I discovered a lump in my right breast in November 1995, at age 49, and had a mammogram. The result was negative. I continued to feel a lump in the right breast and my primary doctor and I agreed that with my family history that I should see a surgeon. The needle biopsy was inconclusive.

The second biopsy was suspicious. My surgeon, Melissa Perkal, suggested that the tumor should be removed. I agreed. It turned out to be two very large tumors, totalling almost 6.5 centimeters in size. The bad news was that the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes; the good news was that only two of fourteen nodes were cancerous.

My son Rick was with me when I found out. I will never forget his maturity. My husband Richard was there for me throughout the surgery, the reconstruction and the aggressive chemotherapy and radiation that followed for the next eight months.

I completed twelve sessions of chemotherapy over a six-month period and had reconstructive surgery in December 1996.This was followed by 32 treatments of radiation.

My Oncologist, Dr. Andrea Silber, advised that often my type of cancer would return within the next year.

In early 2002 I had an opportunity to retire after 17 years from the City of New Haven and take another position out of state.

In April 2002 the yearly mammogram detected a tiny tumor. This one was small and was not invasive. I chose to have my left breast removed in May 2002 and I did not require treatment.

With the love of family and friends, I left to take a job in Philadelphia in late July 2002. I cherish everyday I have been given and I am grateful to GOD to be alive and to be able to enjoy my grandchildren, who live in Philadelphia.


« Back to the Blog