I am sure my story is like many others but I would like to share it. My husband, daughters, mother, brothers and sister were great during this time. On September 19, 2001, I went in for my yearly mammogram with the usual confidence that I had always gone because there had never been any cancer in my family. I was to have a bone density test done that day also but it could not be done due to me taking calcium so it was scheduled for the next day, September 20.
I substituted that day and again went to the hospital for the bone density test. Lo and behold I was getting that test done and the technician came in and said I needed to have another mammogram just for precaution and they could do it as soon as I finished with this test. I went over for the mammogram, after what seemed a very long time the radiologist came in and told me he had found something that he felt I needed to consult a surgeon. I really don’t know how I felt except in total shock.
I was alone except for exceptionally understanding technicians. They made sure I was ok to drive and wanted to call someone but I assured them I was able to get home. I really don’t remember getting home, don’t remember telling my husband that I had to see a surgeon on Monday, September 24, 2001.
My husband, oldest daughter and I went in on Monday for a long talk with the surgeon. She suggested we do a biopsy and she could do it the next day. I called two of my best friends and they took me to the hospital early the next morning for the biopsy. I was very concerned about my younger daughter away in college but did not want to worry her due to midterms so did not call her.
The biopsy was done and results came in on Friday, September 28. My husband kept telling me everything was going to be alright but somehow I just didn’t have the same confidence. So that morning the same three went for the results of the biopsy. Not good news said the doctor. There was a lump about 1/4 x 1/4 cm nearly in the cervice of my left breast and I would need to have surgery and the doctor did not feel I was a candidate for a lumpectomy but one for a mastectomy.
Again I was floored but with the support of my husband and daughter I went home and called all of my family and cried lots. Now this was the day of the Relay for Life in our community and the next step was to go tell the daughter in college that I had cancer and was going to have a mastectomy. Our neighbors cancelled plans for Relay for Life and drove us to see our daughter. We were hung in traffic and my daughter had plans, she was not happy that we had not arrived but on the cell phone I told her not to leave until I got there. She has apologized many times for this.
Again we all cried but I told them I was going to be fine. The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, October 2, so in less than two weeks I was having surgery. The good news is there was no cancer in the lymph nodes and the pathology report was good.
Next was the oncologist and again a great person. He wanted me to take tamoxifen but suggested that I do 4 sessions of chemo as precaution. I had 4 treatments 21 days apart. I did this and with the support of friends and family I got through these sessions without being sick not once.
My last treatment was on January 13, 2002. I have been blessed with great doctors, nurses, family and friends. I went back to tutoring during the school day in early February until the end of school and then I taught summer school. I feel great and will have my year check with the surgeon in September and 4 month check with the oncologist in August.. I really feel blessed. My name is Maris, I am a retired school teacher and 58 years old.