Before I was diagnosed, I had no symptoms. At my yearly visit, my doctor insisted on a mammogram because I hadn’t had one in over five years and had reached that magic number of 50 (years old). It was through a routine test that they discovered the tumors.
I was shocked when the doctor called to tell me that the needle biopsy was positive. I am the first one in my family (mother’s and father’s side) to have breast cancer. We had other cancers in the family, but not breast cancer. That is why I had waited to so long before worrying about getting regular mammograms.
The doctor called on a Thursday evening to tell me the results and she had already scheduled an appointment with the surgeon for the next day. Once I met with the surgeon, we found out that even though it was cancer, it was the best of situations. They had found it before it had spread into surrounding tissue. The only treatments that were probably going to be necessary were the lumpectomy with radiation treatments.
My only concern at the time was that we had a college graduation to attend and a wedding to plan. I wanted to get all of this surgery and treatment completed before my daughter got married.
My treatment and after-effects:
I received a lumpectomy where the cancerous tumors were removed along with three lymph nodes. Since the lymph nodes were cancer-free, the only follow up treatment that would be necessary was radiation.
There were two options for radiation. One was receiving treatments every day, five days a week for six weeks which were like going to have an X-ray done every day. The second, which is what I went with, was to have intensive radiation, internally, twice a day for five days. This was accomplished by inserting a catheter into the breast close to where the cancer was found. Through this catheter, rods were inserted to administer the radiation treatment directly to the specific area.
I did not have any really bad reactions to the treatment, however, since everything was done so quickly, I was very tired most of the time. It has taken a longer period of time to regain my strength, but I am almost there. Other than the scars and the fact that I now have to see my doctor every three months, nothing in my life has really changed except for I have a greater appreciation for the color PINK!!