October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year, this month means so much more to me than in the past. In years past, I would donate to the cause because I knew and still know woman who have fought, survived and are still living with breast cancer. It’s a hard journey for a woman to receive the news, and go through the long process of “healing”. It’s takes a strong-minded person to endure all the changes that come with treatment.
Last March, I received some news and was scared for what was the come. After every mammogram, biopsy and MRI, I was given a different diagnosis. Each time, the doctor told me that it was “this” and you have a 80% chance for getting cancer. Doctors put me in the “pre-cancer” category. They had lots of work to do and I had to suffer so that I could be properly diagnosed. After my last MRI biopsy, my doctor saw a big change from the one done only a month prior. The cells had increased and boy did they grow. Sitting in the doctor’s office and knowing that one-third of my breast was affected was devastating.
At the beginning of this entire process, it was no brainer, I knew that I wanted a mastectomy. After hearing stories of lumpectomies not working and cancer coming back, I didn’t want to have to experience this again in my life, especially if I could do something to prevent it. After speaking to my mother in law (who also had breast cancer), I knew my decision was the best one.
Nearly 3 months after first going to the doctor, I had a double mastectomy. You don’t know how happy I was to see the surgeon after and she told me that even though almost half of my breast was affected, I did not have cancer. Talk about weight lifted off my shoulders. I instantly felt 50 pounds lighter.
This experience has definitely made me a stronger person. I enjoy telling my story. I love to encourage others to take care of themselves first. It’s important to know your body and know when something isn’t right. I encourage all women, young and old to perform self exams as well as visit your doctor yearly. If you have an issue, don’t be afraid to bring it up. If you don’t like the answer, get a second opinion. You only get one life to live so don’t take it for granted.