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Stephanie’s Story (Breast Cancer)

stephanies story breast cancerI was pretty good at getting my mammograms-because I of a fibrous tissue disease. I was not due to have another mammogram until the summer and it was only October, but my left breast started to look odd in the nipple area. This is the part of my story where I always say a man will let you die before he tells you anything on your body looks odd; and my husband just continued to say my breasts were beautiful. My nipple continued to invert and feel hot to the touch. Ladies of my age (63) didn’t grow up discussing health empowerment and or aging bodies, so I just decided I was getting older and this must be what age looks and feels like.

I was all in a hoot about getting ready for the holidays and thought to myself if this continues to look weird after the holidays I might go in to see my doctor. A little voice in my spirit just kept nudging me to call my doctor. One day while I was making a list and checking it twice for the Thanksgiving menu, I just stopped and took a deep breath; just do it, I heard myself say. I called and made an appointment with my mammogram center. They surprised me by getting me in right away. I had my mammogram and the person doing it surprised me again by saying she would like to do more imaging and get a request from my doctor to do sonogram. This was not the norm, but I still thought it was probably fine or cystic disease…again!!

I walked across the hall, literally to where my then OBGYN practiced and made an appointment for two days later to get a sonogram and a biopsy if needed. The biopsy was done and I waited for 4 days…I assumed it was fibrous tissue but it wasn’t. Being told I had cancer crushed me and the immediacy of seeing a surgeon frightened me. It feels like it was a whirlwind of events. I had a complete mastectomy, chemo and radiation.

A year whizzed by my eyes without completely processing everything that happened to my body and to my self. I have nine years cancer free. I see my oncologist once a year. I am currently taking Tamoxifen.  I rest in a completely different place than I used to reside. Where God is in control and I am not: where everything tastes a little richer and I play a little longer and my compassion stretches a little further. I hold on loosely to this world knowing it is temporary and subject to change, and every day is a new gift.

I hope someone finds this helpful. My best suggestion is ladies talk to each other. Knowledge is the best weapon we can find outside of prayer.
Blessings to you all!

Submitted 07/16/2021

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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