My Mammogram Diary. What I Learned From My Breast Cancer Scare

Normally I like to keep things positive and uplifting, light and fluffy over here on Afrobella. I see my blog as a respite, an oasis, a safe space. And it is in this safe space that I’m going to share my story even if some of this is TMI. My TMI could help someone else. Here’s what my last month or so has been like behind the scenes. This is why you may have noticed less posts on my blog lately. Here goes.

 

Photo of BCA via Shutterstock

Photo of BCA via Shutterstock

 

Here’s how it all began.

I take really good care of my skin. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become obsessed with body creams and oils and face moisturizers. Trust and believe that my situation is moisturized with the best of products, from head to toe every day. So when I started to have super dry, flaky skin around my areola, I was very confused. I tried new lotions, new creams, new body butters, new oils. Nothing seemed to really make a difference and make the problem go away. I told myself that it was because of the long, cold, dry winter we were having. Seasonal eczema or something, I told myself. I let this go on for months, until I finally said enough is enough. Let’s go find out what this is all about.

I turned 35 on March 8, and it’s kind of like a mental switch flipped inside me. I talked about this in my 10 Realizations About Being In Your Thirties post – in this bracket of life, you start thinking of things differently and having realizations about yourself, your life, your long terms goals and your health that wouldn’t have occurred to you with such gravity and impetus in your twenties. Anyway, long story short – I turned 35 and started getting serious about stuff I usually put off or don’t want to think about. Like going to the doctor. I didn’t have a Primary Care Physician and I’d been meaning to find one. Plus this itchy skin problem was frustrating and upsetting me, and making me feel self conscious and unattractive. Not the biz. Plus, in the back of my mind I remembered that my Aunty Gemma’s breast cancer symptoms began with itching that she ignored for years. So on my birthday I decided to make a doctor’s appointment. I found a women’s clinic in the neighborhood and scheduled my visit. Here’s where my diary begins.

March 11 – I went to the doctor’s office today – it was such a pleasant surprise to find an all-black women’s clinic in downtown Chicago! As soon as I met the doctor, I felt comfortable. I removed my clothing while she inspected me and asked questions about my condition. I told her about the dry skin and the itching, and she looked closely at the problem area. She was frowning a little as she investigated. “I’m not as concerned about that as I am about this,” she said, indicating what I thought was just a small under-the-skin zit on my chest. “How long have you had this?” I was embarrassed to tell her that I’d been ignoring it for weeks. “I want you to get a mammogram,” she said. “Have you ever had one before?” I hadn’t. I just turned 35! Mammograms were for women in their 40’s or 50’s, right? “Which hospital would be better for you? Northwestern or Rush? Both are great. Rush is nearer and you’re more likely to get an appointment soon.” From the moment she said “I want you to get a mammogram,” I felt a veil of stress come over me. I came to this doctor’s office, expecting to get a diagnosis for some kind of ointment. A special body wash. Something topical. I didn’t expect to stroll in here and leave with an anvil of worry and a list of instructions to walk out with.

I left the doctor’s office with a referral to the Rush Breast Imaging Center, and directions on how to make my mammogram appointment. I got an appointment for March 15th.

Like I mentioned, I don’t have much of a family history of breast cancer, except for my Aunty Gemma, who ignored warning signs for years. Her first symptoms were itchy feelings she couldn’t ignore. I kept thinking of her and what she’s been through, how cancer has affected her life. Aunty Gemma’s in her 70’s now. I didn’t want to imagine experiencing all of that at my age, or at any age. That evening when my husband came home, I told him what was going on. He held me and reassured me and let me feel my feelings. “It’s just a closer look to make sure everything’s OK, babe. It’s gonna be alright.” I knew he was right, but I couldn’t shake the worry off me.

March 12 to 14 – I can be a space cadet, a daydreamer and a worrier under normal circumstances – I’m a Pisces. Under these circumstances, I went deep into my feelings. I found myself struggling with my writing, drifting off into clouds of worry. And through it all, I had to try to meet deadlines and have business calls and go to lunch meetings. I wanted to tell my family what was going on and that I was worried about the doctor sending me for a mammogram, but ultimately I decided not to. I FaceTime with my parents regularly, and on the day I planned to tell them both, my dad looked fine but my mom wasn’t feeling well and was lying on the bed, about to take a nap. Given my mother’s history of high blood pressure, I decided to keep my burden to myself. I decided not to tell anyone in my family, because I didn’t want them to worry. I did share it with my friend Felicia Leatherwood – besides being an amazing hairstylist and natural hair guru, she’s one of the wisest and most experienced people I know. Felicia helped to get my mind right about what was going on. “Maybe you’re supposed to go through this. Maybe sharing your story will save someone’s life,” she said. That’s all I can hope for.

March 15 – Mammogram Day. An otherwise beautiful Saturday with blue skies over Chicago. And here we were – my husband and I – heading to Rush Breast Imaging Center. I couldn’t eat that morning. I didn’t even wear eye makeup because I knew I’d just cry it all off. When I got to the lobby I filled out the requisite paperwork and sat there feeling numb, holding my husband’s hand until they called me in. It didn’t take long. I went to the changing room where I was given a pink dressing gown that stopped at the hip. I could keep my jeans and shoes on. I had followed the detailed list of rules – no lotions, no perfumes, no deodorant, no painkillers besides Tylenol because of the risk of blood thinning, no glucosamine or joint supplements. I felt self conscious. Worried about body odor. Sad. I changed and went to the other waiting room, and then I was called to the imaging room.

The nurse in the imaging room was no-nonsense. She said she’d been working there for 30 years and she’d seen it all. She showed me where to stand in front of the mammogram machine. She would raise my arm, position my breast, and the machine would clamp down on me to hold it in position. I had heard that mammograms were painful, but I didn’t KNOW. Now I know. Mammograms hurt.  I tried to just be stoic and cry quietly. I found myself wondering if breast size was related to mammogram pain. There were moments when putting the vice on me made me audibly sob, even when I had steeled myself not to make a sound. I felt sad and confused and scared. I wasn’t supposed to be here, in a pink hospital gown with my breast in a vice. I was supposed to be in Paris, at a fabulous natural hair event with my friends. But that fell through and then this happened. Why did it have to be this way? How did this happen to me? All of those thoughts were swirling though my head.

There was a screen in the background of the mammogram room, of things that are supposed to keep you calm. Gentle waterfalls, babbling brooks, flowers swaying in the mountain breeze, stuff like that. My favorite image was of a herd of fuzzy donkeys, nestled under a tree in the wilderness. When the pain got to be too much, I just kept staring at the screen and trying to imagine myself there, in the forest, surrounded by them.

I love donkeys!

After my mammogram, I sat in the patient waiting room for a while. One of the patients waiting with me was an elderly woman from a small town near Joliet. She said even though there were hospitals nearer to her home, she came all the way to Rush because their service is the best. She said she knew of patients who came from Indiana and St. Louis, just to go to Rush. That made me feel somewhat reassured.

Then the sweet elderly woman got dressed and left. It was St. Patrick’s Day in downtown Chicago and she was wearing head to toe green, ready to see the green river and to eat corned beef sandwiches at Manny’s Deli. The nurse called me back into the mammogram room, and told me that the doctor wasn’t satisfied with what he saw in my mammogram, and he wanted to do an ultrasound.

For the ultrasound, the nurse handed me over to the doctor. We went to a different room for the procedure and I had to lie down instead of stand before a machine. The doctor applied a warm gel before beginning the ultrasound and then began trying to look for the issue he had noticed. It turns out that the original issue that brought me to Rush wasn’t even the issue he was concerned about. My first doctor had been worried about a smaller bump that was much closer to the surface. This doctor was concerned about a bigger mass that was deeper inside my other breast. He dismissed the small bump as a concern that could be dealt with clinically, but he was worried about this deeper, larger mass. “I want you to come back in so we can do a needle biopsy on this,” he said. I left feeling shattered and scared of what was to come.

March 17 – I went to NYC for a panel with Glam Media. I was proud of myself for being able to participate and be focused when on the inside I didn’t feel that way.

March 18 – I came back home to Chicago that evening. I felt like I was going through the motions.

March 19 – Finally my first full day back in Chicago. I called my first doctor’s office to discuss what was happening.  She said “I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to worry.” I had to call my parents to let them know my trip to New York went well. FaceTime with my parents was difficult, because when I’m sad you can look at me and tell. So I’d call them when I was distracted with something else or when I knew they’d be out and about (because sometimes we FaceTime from the car, my mom answers while dad is driving). I really didn’t want my mom to be worried. I didn’t tell anyone else in my family because I didn’t want word to get around. I couldn’t risk someone saying something to someone else (and that DOES happen). It was tough, but I made the decision with my husband’s support, not to tell anyone anything until we had results one way or another. That went for my family and for his. That was tough.

March 20 – I was finally able to announce that I was part of the Urban Decay electric palette campaign and share my looks online. I was so grateful and excited to be part of this campaign – I mean, honestly. Who would ever have thought someone like me from Trinidad, who grew up reading magazines and yearning to even buy or try makeup of department store caliber, would grow up to literally BE in the campaign for a brand like Urban Decay? It was such a personal highlight, but the emotions around it were so muted by what I was going through. On March 20 I found out that my needle biopsy was scheduled for April 1. April’s fools.

March 22 – I went to the Red Pump Project’s Rock the Red fashion show and it was really good to get out of my apartment and out of my head for a little bit. Being surrounded by friends and inspired by beautiful fashion lifted my spirits a lot.

March 30 – I went to Baltimore for the Oyin Handmade launch party and it was so awesome. I had the best time and was able to truly forget my worries for the night.

April 1 – Biopsy. My husband is the best. He took the day off work to take me to my appointment! I wish I could say I was stoic and hardcore in the face of this procedure. I wasn’t. I was on the brink of a panic attack. I put on my bravest face while waiting in my pink robe. After all, I’d been here before. I asked a woman in the waiting room to take a photo of me because I planned to write about all of this.

Afrobella mammogram

Right after she took this, I pretty much burst into tears. The lady in the waiting room was really sweet and we talked a bit about what I was feeling – she’d been here and done this before, and now she was here again, this time waiting for her daughter while she had an ultrasound. There was something reassuring about talking to other women who knew how it all felt.

I was called away to a room way down the hall, past the mammogram and ultrasound rooms I knew. The nurse was very sweet, maternal, and concerned. I had been told I could bring headphones and listen to music to distract myself, and I put on my Sunday Bubblebath playlist to try to relax. The doctor used a local anesthetic, like they do at the dentist. I can’t say I felt much pain during the biopsy, but I’d liken the experience to being stapled, or hole punched. There is an audible click and pressure when your doctor extracts the tissue he needs. That must be what a piece of paper would feel like. The doctor showed me the samples they were extracting, and they looked like tiny reddish worms in a container of solution. I listened to Adele and tried to tune it out.

The nurse was so caring, so maternal. After the procedure was over, she taped me up, covered the wound with gauze, gave me thorough instructions on my self care for the next 7 to 10 days. That day I had to wear an ice pack in my bra for 6 hours and then use ice packs alternatively for the next 20 hours. I spent the day lying on the couch. I was so, so grateful my husband had taken the day off. I could have gone through it alone if I had to, but having someone to just be there, taking care of me made it all so much better.

April 4 – Friday. My husband took the day off to be home with me when we got the results. I couldn’t eat, my stomach was in knots. I read Psalm 20 over and over again. At 12:30, I called my doctor and put the phone on speaker. “Hey, I have GREAT news for you!” he said. “But first – what’s your birthday?” When he said the word benign, my husband hugged me and we both cried a little. Benign is SUCH a beautiful word!! The stress cloud lifted immediately. I felt like I had taken off a backpack made of bricks. And then, only then, did I call my family to tell them what had happened and that all was well. My mom was dismayed and sad that I didn’t tell her the whole time, so she could have been praying for me. But I explained that besides praying, I knew she’d be worried sick. Literally. I hate keeping secrets from my family but she understood. And she was so happy to know that all was well.

April 5 – I left for Atlanta to be the official red carpet correspondent at the United Negro College Fund’s Evening of Stars and it felt SO good to go in the knowledge that I was healthy and fine!

It is April 10 and my last piece of tape fell off this morning. The skin underneath is smooth and undisturbed, like nothing ever happened. It finally feels OVER.

Many women get false positive results in mammograms, Komen has a great post on it here and according to this report on ABC News, 60% of abnormal mammograms are negative (according to stats from the Annals of Family Medicine). I’m absolutely not the only woman who went through all of this and was benign the whole time.

My husband feels some kinda way about all of this, seeing as the end result was just extreme stress and worry, tears and a hospital bill. His point is, if my initial issue had been diagnosed as not a big deal, then I wouldn’t have had the mammogram, the second mass wouldn’t have been found, and it was benign the whole time so life would have just gone on as normal. I would be none the wiser and I’d still be fine. I totally understand why he sees it that way…but I see it differently. I can’t say that I’m glad that I had a breast cancer scare and endured all of that stress. I can’t say that I’m glad I had the experience at all, but it put a whole lot in perspective. It reinforced that I need to take better care of myself. It made me appreciate my life, my mortality in a whole different way. It was a kind of wake up call.

What did I learn?

- I learned that sickness doesn’t care what your schedule is. You see that diary up above – I had made commitments for blog posts and appearances. I still had to meet those commitments. I didn’t want to tell many people what was going on, so I still had to hold my head up and smile through it all. If I can do it, so can you. There’s an inner wellspring of strength that you’ll discover, that you never knew you had.

- It’s important to listen to your gut instinct. If you’ve got a bump or mark on your skin that seems weird or new – don’t ignore it. Don’t brush away your worries. Your doctor isn’t free but your doctor is your friend. Sound health and peace of mind is worth it.

- If you’re going through something super heavy and you feel like it’s pulling you down, know that you’re NOT alone. You have to go through it and feel your feelings, but it helps to not dwell in the darkness. It’s so important to have a support group and people to talk to and hug you. It’s essential.

Click here to visit Cancer.gov and educate yourself more about the symptoms and treatment for breast cancer.

Have you ever had to deal with something like this? Are you a breast cancer survivor? Please share your story with me. Who knows, maybe sharing our stories will save someone else.

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Comments

  1. *hugs* to you!

    I’ve recently had issues & tests for both cervical & uterine cancer…the last couple of months have not only been stressful, but it made me realize that self-care is the most important care there is. I’m glad to hear everything is ok!!!

    <3

    btw…you were in Bmore & didn't tell me! :)

    • I dipped in and right back out to Bmore – next time we must hang! This whole getting-older-health-scare thing isn’t cool but it is a fact of life. I’m happy to hear you’re OK, sending you love Yesha!

  2. First of all I am so happy that your results came back benign. As a breast cancer survivor, I understand all to well the angst that you felt during that time. Cancer is the scariest thing in the world, but i agree with Felicia Leatherwood with this statement “Maybe you’re supposed to go through this. Maybe sharing your story will save someone’s life.” What I will tell you is that I used my journey with cancer as a platform to educate and help others through it. It was rough, but the lessons I have learned let me know the cancer for for someone else not me and I used those lessons to pour into to someone else. I am so happy this distraction is out of the way. Stay blessed!

  3. The title made me go “no, not Afrobella, not her please”. And I was nervous throughout the entire piece, I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for you. I am sooooo glad everything is OK! xoxo

  4. I’m so glad to hear that you’re okay. Both my mother and her sister (my aunt) are breast cancer survivors, having been diagnosed in their late 40s and early 50s. I had a breast cancer scare in the middle of grad school. I recently found a letter I wrote to my professor asking him to excuse a late submission of a term paper because the ultrasound and stress that came with it, was just too much. And you’re right; illness doesn’t care where you are in life before it sits its ugly self down in the middle of your plans. I try not to think of the possibility that my breasts will betray me like they did my mom and aunt. I am considered high-risk. I live with it. But most importantly, I LIVE.

  5. I am so glad to hear that this was a false alarm!

    I have been dealing with a similar situation for years due to my having various lumps in my breasts. I started off with fine needle aspiration and when that didn’t tell the whole story I had to get a mammogram – before my 30th birthday. Initially, they did not want to do the mammogram because of my age, but my doctor insisted and the lumps turned out to be nothing to worry about.

    Each time I went to a new doctor, they would detect the lumps and order a mammogram, so I have pretty much been getting them annually for at least 10 years now along with the occasional ultrasound.

    It’s always a nerve wracking experience, and it is crucial that you have support because you need it.

    Thankfully, I have always had good insurance that covered most of the expenses, but I feel for those women who are unable to afford it.

    My sister is a breast cancer survivor so I know the importance of early detection which is how I am able to bear the pain and discomfort of the annual mammogram.

  6. Dearest Trice

    I was so upset when I was told about your health scare – upset that we were not there with you or even able to pray with you as Mum said But Steve was there and that was a comfort.

    As to size and pain for mammograms, it hurt like **&** for me when I get them done!

    Coming out of this is also the fact that your state has an excellent heath care system! and as you have insurance, you should get back a portion of hat was spent.

    Home here, we pray daily for all of the family spread out between USA, UK and T&T, but nothing beats a good long hug! So miss you!!!

    Stay strong, focused, committed, healthy and Happy! Hugs Love you tons. Me.

  7. I’m so glad you are well. I went through both early stage Ovarian Cancer and 2nd Stage Endometriosis Cancer in the past year. In fact yesterday (April 9) was the 1yr anniversary in which they found the cancerous tumor on my ovaries.

    I’m cancer free now and thank God everyday. I’ve changed my eating habits (no meat, except fish, b/c the other meats have hormones), no cheese or dairy products. I’ve become gluten free, juice every morning veggies and fruit, and walk 30min. daily. I shared my testimony in church recently. Only a handful of people out of the 200+ people knew. Keep sharing your story.

  8. So great of you to share…truly believe your journey through all of these has a greater purpose, whether it’s to help someone else going through the same situation or even if they know of a friend or loved one who’s headed down a similar path… it always means more when we share our experiences.

    Blessings to you & so glad you’re healthy:)

  9. Miss Patrice, you are a SUCH a strong woman for sharing this! I cannot tell you HOW much I loved your courage and honesty through its entirety. God Bless you <3

  10. Mo to tha says:

    I had a similar experience my senior year of undergrad. Women need to understand its not just ‘odd bumps/lumps’. I was at the dermatologist for a bump on my scalp and she found moles behind my ear that were new. I had them biopsied and was a wreck the whole time. I was trying to finish up my senior year and decide where to work/live after college and I was in about a million organizations that I had to manage. I didn’t go home at all that week (despite the fact my parents lived in the same town) because I didn’t want to scare them. Its a lot harder to hide a wound behind your ear when its smothered by gauze but I made up something and most people just let it be.

    Like you, it turned out to be nothing but since then I’ve kept an eye out for both new moles as well as the shape and size of the moles I already have.

  11. Wow, this piece really touched my spirit. Although breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, several other cancers do. In fact, I lost my mother 10 years ago to lung cancer, and since then I’ve lived a life riddled with worry. My mother was only 43 year at the time of her passing, my grandmother had also passed years earlier at 45 due to heath so being that I’m now in my 30s I feel my worry growing. At this point in my life I’m a married mother of 2, my husband is extremely supportive but I’m sure that my constant ‘doom impending worry’ has to be stressful for him. A few years ago I felt a lump and went in for an exam and at that time my doctor said that it wasn’t in line with breast cancer, but I remember the stress that I felt while trying to muster the courage to just go in. I’m very proud of you for gathering your strength just to go and I also admire your openness about the process. Although we are in the same demographic, you are light years ahead of me in your ability to openly share. I still struggle with sharing pieces of my personal life with the world, but as I type through my tears, I want to say thank you for sharing your story. Although this was about a health scare that I can relate to, what has touched me most is the fact that you had the strength to actually share it. I am encouraged.

  12. You don’t know who you could have saved with this. BTW, I’m 29 and have had 2 mammograms. Crazy, right? My maternal GrandFATHER died from breast cancer and my 1st cousin on the same side got cancer at the tender age of 27. Knowledge is power. *hugs*

    • **hugs*** back Brittany!! So crazy to hear about your grandfather – I hear many men don’t know what’s happening until it’s too late because they don’t think they can get it. Glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself, it’s so important! <3

  13. Hi Bella,

    Very happy for you. It is critical that women, particularly black women, begin mammograms at age 35. This is to establish a baseline for annual comparison. Your breasts WILL change over time, its called age. Most of these developments will be benign (non-cancerous), but you and your internist/GYN must be aware of these changes. The reason it is critical that black women start mammograms at age 35 (some physicians recommend 30 depending on family history): statistically black women present with breast cancer at younger ages than other ethnic groups. In addition, younger women (40 and younger) typically present with more aggressive tumors.

    The wonderful news: the tremendous treatments and breakthroughs in understanding and fighting breast cancer. Ladies, get your mammograms beginning at age 35, and each year thereafter. Ask the radiologist to explain any non-benign issues (masses, etc.). Take care of yourselves.

  14. First of all I am happy to hear you are okay. Secondly let me just say I think the rec that women not get mammograms until they are 40 or 50 is total BS. My best friend found her lump doing a routine self exam and was in her 30′s. If a woman has a family history of breast cancer I think they should be screened starting at age 30 at a minimum. No I have no data to back this up, but I lost one friend to breast cancer before she was 40 and another who ended up with a double mastectomy before her 40th as well.

    Bella could you remind women to do routine self exams and follow up on any unusual changes? It saves lives.

    My own personal cancer story is with uterine cancer. It’s not talked about as much as breast cancer. There are no telethons or 5K runs for research, but it’s just as devastating. I always had irregular periods. Bleeding so heavy I could go through pads and tampons. I’d been checked for endometriosis and finally put on meds to regulate my periods. So regular pap exams and breast exams were a routine part of my care. I ran out the medicine I was on to regulate my periods and had to get an exam in order to get the refill. I was going to Paris for 2 weeks in as few days. The doctor want to do a biopsy. I tried to put it off since I was going on vacation and had last minute running around to do. My doctor insisted so I complied. The day after I returned from Paris the doctor called me with the results. I was busy and couldn’t understand why she wanted me to come into her office. Then she gave me the diagnosis. Endometrial Carcinoma. To this day I have no idea how I didn’t kill someone driving home. It’s been 10 years and I still can’t recall how I got home. It’s all a foggy blur.

    Long story short. I had cancer. It was caught early but I would have to have a radical hysterectomy. Everything was removed; lymph nodes, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Thankfully the biopsy was clear and I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation but any hope of having children was gone. Menopause before you are 50 is a pain in the rear.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Please advise your females readers to take care of themselves. Get those regular gyn exams. Do a self exam monthly. Be an advocate for your own physical well being. I was lucky to have a doctor who wouldn’t let me put off a much needed test. It’s because of her my cancer was caught early and I am here to day.

  15. First of all this is a great blog. I find myself revisiting it more and more frequently because you always seem to cover some very interesting topics. I know that usually you keep things fun & light, but I really appreciate you sharing such a troubling time in your life with us and I’m so glad that scare turned out to be benign. I felt so sorry for you reading this post. I hope you never have to go through an ordeal like that again.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story. I started getting mammograms at 37 due to a family history of breast & ovarian cancer. The first three years, everything was fine. But the last two years, I had to have ultrasounds & core needle biopsies. I tried to be strong for my family, but I just knew I had cancer. But I got the all clear both times. However, I am vigilant about my checkups now & will continue to do so. With my family & personal history, I always feel afraid of going to get mammograms, but I’d rather know, good or bad.

  17. This is one of those areas that we need to encourage more research on why this has become more of a presence in our community verses the occurances in the mid 1900′s.

  18. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  19. Georgia Peche says:

    It is a funny turn of events to hear your husband say you went through a cancer scare and it was an unnecessary cancer scare, and a bill. I have learned from that, men rationalize things differently because that is something my husband would say and he is Caribbean and I experienced his family seeming fearful to take me to the hospital when I got bitten by something in the beautiful, but foreign waters. Also, from this post I have learned that, I should not ignore persistent itching,and stop self diagnosing things with “oh it is probably itching because……”. I have had itching on my left breast for quite a while and although I am currently pregnant, I may have to ask for a more thorough breast exam then just the quick feel you get with your routine check ups.

    I thank you for baring a little bit of your soul. I have been using my life experience to help others and I believe we should always be subservient to the needs of others. You may have saved a life because early detection is important and sometimes we ignore the signs that could prevent someone from having to go through months of treatment.

    Your post had me thinking now of my experience at 18 when my aunt had breast cancer and there is the story of how she found the lump. It has been about 16 years that she has been cancer free and now it is hard to imagine myself going through the same situation that I saw firsthand, when I was young and felt invincible.

    I thank you because I am sure you saved lives with this post.

  20. This was like talking to my girlfriend. You were so open and forthcoming. Thank you for this piece

  21. I’m happy things turned out well for you. Such a blessing.

    I had a breast cancer scare during university, I was a mother, wife, and in a strenuous healthcare program at school. My mother had breast cancer at the age of 39. I was 37 and had been having screening for 2 years. I had to wait two weeks after my initial mammogram to get my ultrasound. I stayed strong until after the results of the ultrasound. Then I cried in my husband’s arms in the parking lot. That whole two weeks I waited to get my ultrasound I kept thinking what does this mean for my daughter? I was so worried about her future if I had breast cancer it would increase her risk. So my tears were for me and for her. I now have mammograms 3x per year to keep an eye on some things the docs want to keep an eye on. I feel blessed to have good healthcare and God keeping me in his sights.

  22. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad you are well. I am challenged to get regular check-ups.

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