My Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She had a mastectomy, lymph node removal and radiation. She agreed to have all the nodes removed as part of a study that I have heard was began by a doctor in Evansville. She had radiation burns, and swelling and drainage issues from the lymph node removal. Many years of Tamoxifen therapy and she is cancer free today. She survived so I was sure if it happened to me I could deal with it.
When I learned of my positive biopsy report I was shocked even though I had had several years of cysts, extra mammograms, ultrasound and drainage. When I went for the biopsy I really had no real fear it would be anything bad. I had breastfed three children, had a healthy lifestyle, and did not smoke.
My doctors in Evansville did everything right. The Cancer Society representative was waiting for me after my appointment with literature and a compassionate heart to help with whatever questions my husband and I had. Even though cancer was only found in my right breast I decided, with the help of Dr. Kim at the Deaconess Chancellor Center, to have a bi-lateral mastectomy in light of my family history. This option meant that no radiation should be necessary. The decision to remove both breasts paid off. Cancer was found in my left breast as well.
Self-breast exams on my part and following up with visits to my OB-GYN enabled me to find my cancer early. I had choices that I know many others do not get. Thanks to my Mother and countless others who agreed to participate in studies, I was able to forgo more invasive surgery. The sacrifices of so many women I would never know, could never thank personally were benefiting me in my journey to rid cancer from my life. I will thank them now by participating in the 2010 Race for the Cure raising funds and awareness for a cause that helped me before I even knew I needed it.