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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Breast Cancer Awareness - My Experience


Last month (October) was Breast Cancer Awareness month. I normally go for my yearly mammogram in September of each year. I had one scheduled for the 19th, but my sister passed away on the 13th of that same month, so I rescheduled it for the 29th of September. Little did I know that it would be a turning point in my life. After all, things like this don't happen to you, right? That day I was told that I had a suspicious lump in my left breast. Of course, then I went for a 3D mammogram a couple of days later, then had a biopsy and as it turned out, it was cancer. Yes, it was in the early stages, but still, cancer.

My youngest sister, who had just passed away, had Hodgkin's Lymphoma (my dad had the same cancer and passed away from it). She also had COPD stage 4 and breast cancer, the latter being a "by-product" of the Hodgkin's Lymphoma. But what took her life was a heart attack brought on by her fear of lack of oxygen. She was unable to reach the oxygen. With her passing, there was a lot of work to be done in order to take care of arrangements and also to help her young adult son to relocate and set him up a household (my twin sister's apartment). So, I didn't think about checking myself for any lumps or anything, as I try to do monthly.

Needless to say, I was very surprised that the mammogram had found a lump in my left breast, rather than my right, because I've had 2 biopsies on the right side before. But what if I hadn't gone to my yearly exam? That thing would have grown rapidly, as I was told it was the fast growing kind. The next thing to do was the lumpectomy with a sentinel node biopsy.

Going through the process of the lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy scared me a lot more than the cancer itself. It was unknown territory, never before experienced. I've had "cancer scares" before. I was sure that I was told the incisions wouldn't be very big, but man! They sure aren't small! Anyway, I made it through the procedures just fine, and am now in the process of healing, waiting to find out if I need to have any kind of a treatment plan going. I'll find out next week.

What my point to this post, really, is to say how important a yearly exam is...because if I had just decided to do it later, or even skipped until the next year, that lump would have grown and it might have been too late to do anything about it. Only God knows. So, yeah, I hate mammograms...they hurt! But I'm so glad I did get it done, and the cancer was caught early enough to nip it in the bud.

I will keep you posted. Until then...

Blessings! Jeanie Ellis - Scrapbookingmamaw

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