Susan Stephenson



It’s Not Always a Lump

I thought I felt a lump so went to my OBGYN. He could not find it, so ordered a mammogram. That was inconclusive, so they did a deep tissue ultrasound. That determined I had non-conclusive tissue that needed to come out. Dr. Mammolito did not expect to find cancer, but the pathology report said it was Stage 1A invasive ductal carcinoma and ductal carcinoma in sitsu. The margins were clear, so Dr felt pretty secure that she got everything. Since Dr did not expect to find cancer, she was not prepared to go into the lymph nodes, so that required a 2nd surgery where she took out 4 nodes, which were all negative for cancer. I cannot say enough about Dr Mammolito, she is an expert!!

I did have the blood test to see if I carried the cancer gene, which I did not.

I did have 20 radiation treatments with the last 5 being a boost. Dr. Correa was wonderful for that process. That process did not really hurt until the end where the radiation caused burns under my breasts. My friend had a tube of Miaderm she was given before her mastectomy, so she gave me the tube. That was worth a million dollars!!!!!

I continue to go to the Illinois Cancer Center for blood work and checkups every 6 months, as well.

Because my type of breast cancer feeds off estrogen, I take Anastrozole to stop it. I may have to take it at least 3 to 5 yrs, and maybe the rest of my life. I also take extra calcium, and Fosamax/Alendronate Sodium because the Anastrozole can cause bone issues.

I had to have check ups and mammograms for 6 months, and after 2 yrs, I am back to annual mammograms and checkups.

I am thankful for the doctors who helped me through this process. No one expects to hear those words, “you have breast cancer!” I’ve been healthy, except for high blood pressure which runs in my family, so I was shocked to hear those words. I just accepted it, and said, ” God it’s in your hands, please see me through this!” I am thankful for continued good reports!
My advice to those who get the diagnosis, continue to stay positive. They can do so much for us today. Treatment is determined with each diagnosis. They are not always the same. My outlook is to make sure everyone continues to get their mammograms. Early detection is the key, and it’s not always a lump, mine was tissue. I took it one day at a time, one treatment at a time.