The doctor said, “Come back in six months; we want to watch something.” Those burning words following my mammogram were so upsetting I put it out of my mind, but did my self-exams. I started to feel something that felt like a small hard pearl. So, when it was time for another mammogram, I was anxious to find out what was going on.
The doctor said, “It looks very smooth and I think it is a cyst, nothing to worry about.” But I did worry, it bothered me, and something told me to pursue this little lump. I saw two of my aunts and one of my first cousins die of breast cancer.
So I called my gynecologist and told her I just did not feel right. I was not going to just let this go. She told me to see a specialist who said, “Looks just like a cyst, but we will do an ultrasound to make you feel better.” Looks like nothing!
Then it all turned dark. The specialist said he wanted an immediate biopsy and within days I was told I had cancer. I plunged into constant worry and depression; I could not get out of bed. I cried, prayed, and stopped eating. I took medical leave from work. I thought my life was over. I was terrified and sad. I had surgery to remove two lumps in my breast, followed by chemotherapy that made me so sick I wanted to quit after each treatment.
But I never gave up. I went to radiation day after day. In addition, during this time, I had two ruptured disks in my back that I could not have surgery on, and the searing pain was unbearable. But I forged through—not giving up. Three days after my last radiation I had major back surgery, and it was successful! So many days I thought it would never end. But it did!
One year after my diagnosis, I am well, going to work every day, and I square dance three times a week! I take my Tamoxifen and make sure to keep all my doctor appointments. I work at a college and a large team of my students is running for me in the local Race for the Cure®. They say I am an inspiration – I say I just am a survivor…
So, my advice is: Trust your own inner voice, challenge the doctors if you feel you are right! And, no matter how hard it is, never give up! It all gets better! It sure does!