When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, I felt so young and so…alone. When I started Lemon Drop Pie two years ago, I wanted to reach out to breast cancer survivors like me, but I didn’t know how. A few weeks ago, I thought of an idea; to share stories so that those touched by breast cancer wouldn’t feel so alone.
Just think about it…have you been touched by breast cancer? I’m willing to bet that someone you know has either been diagnosed with breast cancer or lost a loved one to this disease.
This story is by Diane. Her story is also posted on my page currently titled, “Stories from YOU.”
My diagnosis was a long time coming. Long before my diagnosis I knew I had a lump in my breast. I knew that lump was growing. What I didn’t know was how important it was to have a mammogram. I didn’t know that early detection saves lives. I didn’t know that a growing lump could mean a spreading cancer. I didn’t know that young women can and do get breast cancer. I didn’t know about breast cancer. I knew about heart disease. I was a care giver for sick and dying parents. I was a mom to two young daughters. I was a wife. I was an active church member. I was renovating a house. I was busy!! Being diagnosed with breast cancer was not in my plan. I didn’t have the time to have breast cancer. So – I did what all wise young women do – I ignored it! Yep – I ignored it.
March, 2002, I typed in two words in my medical search engine. Breast Lump. It was time to face this reality and I did. Clearly I didn’t like what I read. Reality was slapping me square in the face.
I was really beginning to see the writing on the wall. I was not playing with a simple cold here. It was time to get serious. I confided in my sweet friend Traci. (My mammographer friend Traci) Yes – I know now just how dumb I was. She knew how serious this was and had me set up a mammogram with an immediate ultrasound. She was NOT dumb. She tried to hide her tears that Monday morning while she looked at those films. She could not tell me what she knew. It was not her place to do that. She just reassured me and tried to keep her composure. Then the ultrasound tech tried her best to have a poker face. She also told me what “other” things it could be. Reality was beginning to set it. Even before the films were read I had an appointment with a Surgeon. Once again, I was told of all of the things it could be. I was reminded that I was young, had no history, was not a smoker – was really not at a high risk. Remember that 80% are benign
On March 25, 2002, Dr. F’s words were “but unfortunately you are in that 20%”. I had breast cancer. At 37 years old I had a 3.1 cm lump removed that was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
Please don’t ever think you are too busy to be diagnosed. Early detection saves lives. Mammograms can save lives. Self-breast exams should be done each month. If you think you are being brushed off – get a second opinion. No matter your age – you can get a mammogram. Fight for your right.
Diane blogs at Life as a Survivor.
You may read her full post here: Too busy to be Diagnosed
If you have a story to share, please email me at lemondroppie (at) gmail (dot) com. I’d love to hear from you!