Reverend Dr. Betty Fludd
reside in Bridgeport, Connecticut with my daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
In 1968, I was getting ready for bed when I felt a sharp pain. When I began to examine and feel for the source of the discomfort, I came
across a lump in my breast. Puberty was just beginning as I approached age 13. And as we know, the earliest sign of puberty in most girls is the development of “breast buds,” which are nickel-sized bumps under the nipple. I immediately informed my mother that night. She examined the breast and gave me a pain pill for the night and took me to our primary care physician in the morning. My doctor took a look at me and advised my parents to take me to an oncologist, sooner rather than later. The chances for getting the best possible care are highest if caught early on. Once you are diagnosed, it is better that everyone on your team, whether it be doctors or parents, be on the same page.
As we entered the oncologist’s office, I quickly noticed that I was the youngest patient in the room. I will always remember this doctor because of his bedside manner and gentleness. He went above and beyond to make me as comfortable as possible. He very subtly let my mother know that I was the youngest person he had ever treated. As he began to examine me, he had a large needle to insert inside of my right breast in hopes to see fluid drawn. But instead there was blood. My doctor, the kind soul, looked up at my mother and let her know that I needed to be admitted for a biopsy. A biopsy is an examination of tissue removed from a living body to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease.
I was hospitalized for two days. When I was sent home from that biopsy, my mind as a 13-year-old child was wondering about everything that was happening to me. I was focused on trying to figure out what was next. My mother tried her best to keep me positive by reciting her favorite scripture, Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd,” and would pray for me. She was my rock from the beginning to the end.
It was in the month of July when she got the call. I had to return to the hospital to undergo a complete mastectomy. The doctor told my family this had to be done in order to get all the cancer. During the surgery the lump removed was the size of a grapefruit!
I was 13 years old when I was diagnosed and I am blessed to be a breast cancer survivor for 53 years!
To all the survivors, remember to look to the hills from whence cometh our help, knowing our help comes from the Lord who created heaven and earth.
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