Few Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

When i used to be diagnosed with carcinoma I was dismayed. I’ve continuously been a healthy person, therefore I didn’t expect it. I felt like I’d been sideswiped. The thing I feared most was that I would miss being a part of your futures.

I’m writing this letter to you two today – six years later – because I want to thank you for your love and support during the tough times and share what I learned on my journey back to physiological state. I pray that you never get any type of cancer, but if you ever did, perhaps this advice would help you through it and make it less frightening. In fact, I hope it’ll facilitate all girls.

It’s important to get a second opinion.

When my doctor called to give me the news, I asked, “Will it kill me?” His frighteningly cavalier response of “Well, it’s cancer” sent a chill down my spine and made me realize that I needed to advocate for myself. My first step was to get a new doctor! You have to trust your gut and know that not all doctors are created equal.

Mammograms aren’t perfect, so stay alert.

As you know, my cancer didn’t show up with a mammogram. I felt the lump. My doctor said it was fibrous tissue and I was happy with that, but then, over several months, I noticed it was getting bigger and I said so. When they biopsied the lump they discovered it wasmalignant. I never thought it would happen to me, but I’m glad I was persistent about it because early detection opened up a whole world of treatment options I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

There may be more options than you think, so get educated.

The only choice I thought I’d have was a single or double mastectomy, so I was pleased and surprised when my doctor said I’d be able to have a lumpectomy followed by targeted radiation, then chemo. After considering all the choices I chosen five-day partial breast radiation (brachytherapy) rather than a extended six-week course. For me it absolutely was vital to urge through it quickly and understand I had one a part of my treatment out of the means. Getting the right treatment is the key to survival.

It takes a village.

A friend of mine and cancer survivor told Maine concerning the University of American state point of entry and counseled Dr. Ann Wallace, the surgeon who did my lumpectomy. Dr. Wallace collaborated with Dr. Cate Yashar, the radiation oncologist, and Dr. Schwab, the chemotherapy oncologist. Collaboration between doctors is key, so it’s good to find people who work well together.
The support and love of family is everything.

I want to many thanks each for supporting and inspiring Maine through “our” carcinoma battle. Kara, I keep in mind you coming back down from LA and outlay the whole day of preparation and surgery by my facet. Your being there eased my stress immensely. Krista, you were there with me through so many chemotherapy infusions making sure I was comfortable. You gave me great comfort and strength. Your dad too was amazing. In a family like ours, we journey together through times like these. Your love got me through it.

I hope that you take good care of your precious bodies, get mammograms, do self-exams and pay close attention to any changes. I am so grateful that I have survived and that I am now healthy so that I can enjoy sharing your lives with you. You amaze me every day. I am looking forward to spending another Mother’s Day with you both!