Elizabeth Bryant



I had my yearly screening mammo on 5/27/15. Got a call back for a diagnostic on my left breast. Okay, no big deal, same thing happened 3 years ago, density issues, couldn’t get a clear picture. Everything turned out okay back then, same thing will happen this year. Yeah, um, not so much. As I watched other patients come and go while I was waiting to be discharged from the diagnostic, I began to wonder. Soon I was called “not to get dressed, see you in a year”, but to “please join me in the consultation room”. Apparently there were calcifications present that were not present last year, or 3 years ago. I ended up with an extremely painful biopsy the next day, and within the week I was diagnosed with DCIS, stage 0, non-invasive (but the calcifications themselves were grade 3) as my husband and I sat there in disbelief. Wow. Okay – so what’s next. The plan was for a lumpectomy followed by radiation treatments. Okay – let’s do this. I applied for my medical leave from work, told my teenage daughters what was going on, told a few select friends that I knew would support me regardless of what happened, and had the first surgery. Path report gave clear, but very, very tiny margins. Both the rad onc doc and the surgeon decided a second lumpectomy needed to be done. So 2 1/2 weeks after the first, I had a second surgery. Path report still was not satisfactory, clear by tiny margins and skip lesions present (meaning there was disease outside the original area). Being a lab tech, I could read my own path report and after seeing the second one, I had a feeling things weren’t resolved yet. I’m sitting at home right now, one week post-op from a left breast, skin-sparing mastectomy with expander placement for future reconstruction. At this point, it’s unlikely I will need radiation now and/or chemotherapy for which I’m grateful, but I have a process still ahead of me to complete the reconstruction and when I can say things are resolved. My husband, who has been beyond awesome, my girls who keep me laughing and give me, for right now, one-sided hugs!!, to those friends that I chose to share the news with because I knew they would know just the right things to say to me, the surgeons and staff who have been beyond great – these people have no idea the impact they’ve made on my life over the past 3 months. I have mostly good days, as I am a generally practical, let’s get it taken care of sort of person, but on occasion, I have a day where I find the whole experience completely and totally surreal and I find it hard to focus and not be an emotional mess. Today is one of those days, but at the same time, I know I will get through this – between my family and friends, I want to get through this for them as well as for me. Reading through the stories here, I know that there’s a far larger family out there that supports me as well. Here’s to all of us – we’ve got this ladies!!!