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In December 2019 I went to my normal mammogram that usually lasts about 15 minutes.
Mine lasted what seemed to be an hour; then I was lead to the ultrasound room, for another half hour; then my husband and I talked to the radiologist.
He suggested a biopsy.
The biopsy results came back with a positive breast cancer diagnosis.
Looking back on this experience I was walking into an unknown place emotionally and physically.
In that time I came down with a very horrible virus bug that was a cough and breathing and chest issues.
I think the times in the hospital I picked up something.
In urgent care they gave me an inhaler and told me to wait till my surgery was over.
After the lumpectomy I was no longer sick but only using my inhaler sometimes.
In 85 days I had mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, MRI of both, lumpectomy surgery, and then radiation.
The lumpectomy came back clear and it seems the biopsy removed the cancer.
Sixteen sessions of radiation was just a preventative measure.
It was a very interesting and surreal experience.
I now have a surgeon, an oncologist, a radiology doctor, my regular doctor and a few others to add to the list.
In 85 days my world changed.
After that the awful covid virus arrived, so I was quarantined because it was safer and because I wanted to be.
Radiation lowers your immune system and I definitely do not want to get a serious illness on top of what I am dealing with.
One of the side effects of radiation is fatigue and I do think I am experiencing that.
It’s hard for me to actually rest. My word for the year is rest. Isn’t that funny?
I will have a mammogram and or ultrasound every six months for at least 5 years.
I started a ‘drug therapy’ they recommended for survivors of breast cancer.
It is still hard for me to actually say, “I am a cancer survivor.”
It is kind of emotional and I wear pink with a new appreciation for the color and meaning now.
My husband got a ribbon tattoo representing his mom and me.
He said he would never get another one but he had to get that one.
This diagnosis is something that is in my chart now, my life and my story.
Looking back on the experience would I change anything?
I don’t think so.
I really liked the radiation team and would spend more time with them as ‘people’ not med techs.
I have tried to not say, “why me” because why not? I am not anyone more special than anyone else.
This experience has taught me more empathy, compassion and joy.
I rang the bell when radiation was over.
Every day is a gift now. Every day we get a new chance to make a new change of direction and give hope.