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Early Detection Saves Lives

It’s saving my life.  It could save yours too.

On July 21st, 2020, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

I’d had my annual mammogram a week before.  They found what is called, asymmetry, and I was called back for an ultrasound and biopsy.

I’d had a biopsy before and nothing was found so I wasn’t concerned about this biopsy.

You can imagine my disbelief when I heard the words, “I’m sorry but the results of your biopsy confirm cancer.”

I was not the face of cancer.  I have no family history of breast cancer, I don’t smoke, and am physically active.  I’ve never had any other type of cancer or cancer therapy.  There was no reason for me to believe that I would get breast cancer.

My cancer is also not something I can see or feel on my body. I feel physically healthy and strong. There is nothing to indicate that I have cancer except an image on a mammogram.

The 6 days before I met with my surgeon were emotional hell.  I cried every time I told a family member or friend.  It was difficult to focus on anything.  My mind went to dark places.  I felt like I’d been given a death sentence.  I was so scared.

The toughest part was telling our 8-year-old son.  I cried at the idea of telling him.  But with a little time and some great coaching, we told him in the simplest terms, “Mom has cancer in her body and I’m having an operation so the doctor can take it out.”  To which he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Ok.”

While it’s a tough message to relay, the support I received from my friends and family is undeniable. Every kind word, card, text, and email lifted me up in a way that’s allowed me to let go of some of the burden.  I knew people were thinking, praying, and rooting for my recovery.

Some of the best advice came from people who’d survived cancer:

“This will make you stronger.”, and “You need to walk the walk.”.

Both these pieces of advice made me consider this was not the end of my story, rather just another chapter or two.  I became hopeful that I would get through this and grow to become a very old lady.

When we met with the surgeon, her first words were, “I’m sorry you’re going through this but your cancer is highly treatable and curable.”

That was it.  That was all I needed to hear to feel confident and to move forward.

My diagnosis is stage 1 breast cancer.  My tumor is a grade level 1 meaning it is very slow-growing and it is small, 9mm.  My treatment will include a lumpectomy followed by radiation.

Surgery is this week.  I can’t wait to get started and get healthy again.

To all women and the men who love women, do not skip your mammogram.  DO NOT!

I almost canceled mine due to COVID.  My decision not to was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  It’s saving my life.  It could save yours too.

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