It’s time for my yearly breast MRI and I’m not looking forward to it. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2009, I made the decision to have a lumpectomy. This was followed by 4 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation therapy. Not the most fun experience I’ve had in my life.
I decided to have the cancer DNA test run – thank God the insurance paid for it. I came back BRCA 2 positive. This puts me in a much higher risk category for recurring cancer – particularly breast and ovarian. As a result, I opted for a hysterectomy two years ago. Also, not the most fun I’ve had. I’m still thinking about having a mastectomy with reconstruction, but after the hysterectomy, I needed a break from surgery and hospitals.
So, here I go again, heading to the imaging center for an MRI. As I write this, I remember the feelings I experienced being told I had cancer. Horror, shock, fear — this crushing pressure in my chest like my lungs were going to explode. It’s like getting hit with an emotional truck.
I was lucky. My lump was very small – about 1 cm. By the time I had the biopsy, it was half that size. My surgeon was amazing and my oncologists kind and caring. In fact, the radiation doctor bought two of my books.
I urge everyone, men and women alike, to have breast cancer check ups regularly, particularly if it runs in your family. Do the breast self-exam. It isn’t fool proof, but it’s a good starting point. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your doctor.
My lump was found by a routine screening done when I was entering an experimental drug testing program. They called me and said there was “something” on the films. “It’s probably nothing, but we want you to go for an MRI.” The MRI showed cancer.
Everything was a whirlwind after that. I saw oncologists and a surgeon and had my surgery less than two weeks after I was diagnosed. I began my chemo about six weeks later. Six weeks after that, I started radiation. It was a harrowing experience and one I hope and pray never to undergo again.
If you even suspect you have cancer, PLEASE see a doctor. Not wanting to know is your worst approach. If it’s cancer, it’s better to face it head on. Being diagnosed is not a death sentence for everyone. YOU CAN WIN! Ignoring the symptoms is sure fire way to take a one way ticket to your death bed.
Don’t ignore it. Do something pro-active. See a doctor.