It was the beginning of May 1990 as I started my monthly breast exam. All of a sudden I felt something that hadn’t been there the month before. I immediately called my husband and had him feel it. Yes, there was something there but we were each trying to convince the other that it was probably a cyst or something else but not cancer. I decided to wait a few weeks before going to the doctor. Those were the longest weeks of my life.
Finally on May 18th I decided to call my family physician. When he examined me I knew by the look on his face that it wasn’t good. He said, “with your permission I would like to schedule a mammogram and an appointment with a surgeon.” He recommended a surgeon that he was familiar with and we went for my mammogram and then waited for the surgeon. When he arrived he checked both me and the mammogram and said “we are going to do a biopsy.” Of course this was a Friday so we had to wait the weekend for the results. Monday came and the news was not good. Yes, it was cancer. We returned to the surgeons office to discuss our options. We had pretty much made up our minds as to what we wanted, he agreed that a modified radical mastectomy was the best choice for my particular situation. Surgery was set for May 24, 1990 at noon. This is the day that changed my life forever.
Surgery went well, my left breast was removed along with 23 lymph nodes. One lymph node came back positive and I started six months of chemotherapy which consisted of Methotrexate, 5FU and Cytoxan. I had no problem with my chemo, just a little nausea, and I lost part but not all of my hair. I did not have radiation or reconstructive surgery. I did relaxation and visualization techniques all during my chemo and I still listen to one tape every night when I go to bed. I really believe that this has helped my recovery. I have kept a positive attitude through all of this. Yes, it is scary at times but we have to look for the positive things in life. Cancer has changed my life for the better. I no longer think I am super Mom and I stop to smell the roses along the way and enjoy each day to its fullest.
My husband has been by my side through this entire journey for which I am very grateful. We have headed up a support group in our area, spoken to the doctors at our local hospital and also at Cancer Survivors Day. I have also given a speech at Cancer Awareness doings, and was recently made co-founder of Breast Cancer Support Group on the Web. We posts messages to each other and have scheduled chat sessions. I belong to Yahoo Cancer Chat and volunteer for R A Bloch Cancer Hotline. I really enjoy chatting and helping both breast cancer and cancer patients.