Katherine Lewis Gardner
I began my journey in my early 30’s whenever my day ended, and I undressed, there were always dark dried spots in my bra, only on the left side. I didn’t know much about breast cancer then, so I monitored it, and when I was sure it was coming from my breast I went to the doctor and the surgeon set me up for a biopsy of my left breast. I am 60 years old now, but after having the biopsy I was scared through the whole process. The results came back no cancer but just abnormal ducts that the doctor removed. I was relieved, but I was to have mammograms every 2 years thereafter. Fast forward to 2018, after having mammograms for years and doing my breast exams there was always a normal result but, recently, I started feeling a twitching pain in my left breast. I went to the Emergency room that night to make sure it was not related to my heart and it turns out it was not. My EKG and other tests came back as normal, but my pain continued off and on. It started radiating to my upper left arm and pain medication seemed to not help it. I was a bit frantic so I went to OBGYN the pain was not present when I saw the provider so she said to me, without examining me, if you should experience it again give us a call and come back in. My pain came back later that day, I made an appointment to go back to OBGYN and I also requested to see someone else. The day of my appointment I requested for further test to be done, I also told the provider that there must be an underlying problem, after having the regular mammogram I received a slip saying it was normal. It wasn’t until I complained of ongoing pain that they ordered a 3D Ultrasound on my left breast to discover a mass, so I went back for a biopsy and was told that the good news was it wasn’t cancer, but a typical abnormal tissue. I was happy it wasn’t cancer. That changed when the doctor suggested doing surgery to remove the abnormal tissue. It came back as cancer and in January 2019 I had my left breast removed and had reconstructive surgery doing the same time. Please ladies listen to your body, had it not been for the grace of God bringing the pain to my knowledge the problem would have never been discovered before it got in advanced stages. I am still recovering from surgery and have a new vision moving forward to be there to contribute, to be a comfort to someone else who is going through these difficult times. We are survivors, we will be strengthened first through God and second through each other.