On Thanksgiving morning 2007, as I was applying lotion following a shower and prior to a house full of guests arriving, I found a lump in my right breast. Being a holiday weekend meant waiting until Monday to see my doctor. It was a whirlwind that next week seeing my primary physician, the surgeon, the oncologists, having additional tests, etc. Within two weeks I had opted to undergo bilateral mastectomies. I had cancer involvement in the sentinel node only, and opted for aggressive treatment and am most grateful for the compassionate care I received at Rex Cancer Center in Raleigh.
I work for the United Methodist Conference and am convinced that the prayers of 700 congregations, family and friends made this journey with cancer so much easier than it might have been. Following surgery, I had six sessions of chemo and a year of Herceptin treatment, finishing the end of January 2009. Would I have chosen this journey - of course not, but it does not mean a death sentence, nor does it have to take our quality of life or our womanhood. Did I lose my hair - yes - and it grew back gray! Did I have a few days during treatment when I was not feeling terrific - yes, but not many!
I encourage everyone to click on the breast cancer site daily to help those who are under-insuranced or not insured receive regular mammograms. I was not well informed and did not have mammograms because there was no family history of breast cancer - not knowing that my age (60) and weight were creating significant risks for breast cancer. I encourage all women to continue regular personal manual checks, have your doctor check you yearly and get your mammongrams! And click, click, click on the website!