October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s a time to celebrate survivors and join the fight against breast cancer. While I normally don’t get too personal in this space, I’m going to get real today. I felt it was important to share my story with you to help raise awareness.
I’ve always been aware of these facts, having lost two of my husband’s immediate family members to this awful disease. My maternal grandmother died of this, as well, when my mom was in high school. I never thought that I would be diagnosed with it myself.
When I woke up on Christmas Eve’s morning last year, I had a foggy memory of waking up in the middle of the night and feeling a lump on my breast. I wanted to wait to call my doctor until after the holiday, but something nagged me to at least leave a message if the office was closed. Coincidentally, the office was open, and they had a cancellation, and I was able to get an appointment.
I went to the appointment, thinking it was probably a cyst or something harmless. Annual mammograms have been part of my routine for the past 10 years, and I had just had one in June. My doctor didn’t appear to be concerned but still ordered an ultrasound. It never crossed my mind that I might have cancer.
When I get the ultrasound back, it showed I had a tumor. The next step was a biopsy. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but reminded myself that people find benign tumors every day, and that’s what this was. Fortunately, I was able to have a biopsy two days later. By the end of the week, the news was delivered that I had breast cancer.
I was reeling in shock – I eat healthily, have always worked out, and my only vices are a few glasses of wine. Was my life to end at a young age like my mother-in-law and sister-in-law? The thought of all the possible future events I would miss put me into action mode, and I immediately made an appointment for the following Monday with the breast cancer surgeon.
It turns out that I have the best luck for having bad luck. My diagnosis was in stage 1. I was meant to find that lump. At the end of January, I had surgery, then eight weeks of radiation starting in March, and finally, hormone therapy for the next five years. I am a survivor and cancer-free!
Over the summer, I had the BRCA1 & BRAC2 genetic mutation testing, and to my relief, my results were negative. I’m just one of the unlucky 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
And that’s my point. Hiding from the possibility of having cancer will not make it go away. It’s breast cancer awareness month but your health should be a priority every month. Schedule your annual mammogram, do your self-breast exams monthly, and, most important of all, trust your gut if you think something is not quite right.
As always, thank you for reading!
Linking up here.