In Dec. 1998, I began to feel a pain in my left breast. I had had pain in my right breast a few years earlier and a needle biopsy had shown it was fibrous tissue. This, however felt different. When I lay down, I could feel a lump on the side of my left breast. It was similar to what I had felt years before and so I did not pay much attention at first. I was 41. I had a mammogram the year before and one the year before that. Both had been negative. The last one had been in 1997.
After a few months of not paying attention, a little voice in my head, conscience or God, I don’t know, but it whispered in my ear at least once or twice a day. It simply said breast cancer. I didn’t want to believe it. I had a five year old child. My husband, who was younger than me was only 29. I went to the doctor, who ordered an ultrasound. Of course the ultrasound tech could not tell me anything, she just said Good Luck. How ominous.
I went to my follow up appointment and was told to see a surgeon for a biopsy to see if the tumor was benign or not. The surgeon did the biopsy, sent the results off and I waited. She had said it looked to her to be benign. So, I hoped she was correct but I was scared she was wrong. I came back 2 weeks later and while I was waiting in the room with my little paper smock that didn’t really cover anything, I noticed my file on the table. So, of course I took a peak. It was cancer. When the doctor came in with her sad face, I already knew and I said, It’s cancer. She confirmed it and then I launched into a speech on how cancer is so treatable now and there were all kinds of new things to try. I was babbling. I would not cry. I would not cry. I asked if my husband could come in.
I felt numb. When I saw him, I cried. I sobbed. I felt like I was in a surreal universe. This was not my life. We went to the surgeons office to discuss options. I had one option presented to me. Radical mastectomy followed by Chemotherapy, 8 sessions and then followed by radiation therapy, 6 weeks. I said how long do I have before I have to decide. She, the surgeon, said