Throughout October I'm showcasing breast cancer survivor stories from CafeMoms for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I hope that these stories not only raise awareness but also provide hope and comfort to women who have been diagnosed or are being treated for the disease.
Today, Meandmyshadow, mom of three, shares with us her experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39.
Our life was running along great. We had just bought a new house. In the midst of moving in, I had to go to the doctor for some minor ailment. He asked me if I had had a baseline mammogram. I was 39, so no I hadn't. He gave me a prescription for one, and I took it home, filed it under "Ignore" and went on about my business. A few weeks later the doctor's office called and asked if I had had the mammogram. I hadn't, so I made the appointment and went.
My whole life took a different turn. There was a lump. I was told it was probably benign. But we needed to do a biopsy to be sure. I had no history. I was healthy. This was just a minor hiccup, we thought.
We did the biopsy. I had breast cancer. My first thought was: I'm going to die. I was so afraid I was going to leave my family. We scheduled a lumpectomy. I thought after this I would be fine. Not so. The results showed no clear margin. The good news? It was a stage 1, found very early because of a base line mammogram. I was given all my options.
My decision was based on a note my son's teacher found in his desk. It said: "If my mom dies, then I want to die, too." That scared me more than the diagnosis. I decided then and there that I was having a mastectomy. Just cut it off and and get rid of it.
I had both breasts removed. I did not and still haven't had reconstruction. That option was given to me. But at the time I was afraid my family had suffered enough. I needed to take care of my children and assure them I was going to be fine. I was ready to get on with my life. I didn't need chemo or radiation because my cancer was found so early.
It has been 12 years since then. I owe everything to my primary care physician. He said he was doing his job. I also wanted to mention the number of people who avoided me—it was almost like they thought I was contagious. You really know who your friends are after something like this.
Thank you to Meandmyshadow for sharing her story.
Do you have a story to tell? How has breast cancer touched your life?