Dorothy Brady



On June 5, 2019, six months after losing my mother I learned I had breast cancer. Stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma. I lost my mother on December 12, 2018. I had also lost my father three years prior. I’m an only child, no brothers or sisters. I had taken care of both my parents for years. I was just beginning to reach a place of peace grappling with the recent loss of my mother when I learned I had breast cancer. I did not carry the breast cancer gene. I would be the first in my family. Which also had me feeling isolated. I kept thinking to myself what did I do wrong? Initially I blamed stress coupled with grief. Then I learned simply being a woman puts you at a greater risk and 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in her lifetime. In May 2019 I went for my annual pap smear and my Gynecologist discovered a lump. On the day of my mammogram many angles and views were taken of my left breast. I was then told to sit and wait for an ultrasound. Suddenly my life flashed before me. I knew something was wrong. I went back to the dressing room to wait for my ultrasound. My nerves were torn to pieces. I couldn’t sit. I stood in the mirror telling myself not to cry, not to obsess and not to worry. Once my ultrasound was complete they called my husband back, as the Doctor walked in I knew it was bad. He delivered the devastating news that he believed it appeared I had stage 2b breast cancer. I was frustrated. I was heartbroken! How could I tell my children who were 9, 10 and 14 as they were grieving their grandmother that I had breast cancer. Suddenly my grief was placed on hold as my days were filled with fears of the unknown and tests. The MRI later revealed I had 4 lumps. All summer it felt like I was carrying a huge ton weight around. My left breast no longer felt a part of me. It had become a stranger as breast cancer invaded, but I went about my daily activities as normal and constantly prayed for peace. On August 5, 2019 I had a complete unilateral mastectomy of my left breast along with nine lymph nodes removed from the armpit area. Out of nine lymph nodes only one contained cancer. The recovery is not quite what I expected but I’m healing well. I’m currently receiving occupational therapy for my arm and progressing day by day. It is a process! I have some soreness, numbness and fluid still. I have received good news. I don’t need chemo but they do recommend five weeks of radiation and a pill for the next five years. To learn you have a disease such as cancer that has claimed the lives of so many, really forces you to put your life into a totally new perspective. I love deeply, hug longer and count my blessings every single second! Life is so precious.