Currently I am 46 years old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer the first time at 43 years old. Some of it was my own foolishness, as I had a lump for some time…..years. It didn’t hurt, it moved around, it was only the size of a pea, and was hard as a rock. Over time it started to change in shape, not the nodule, but the skin around it. I showed it to one of my colleagues, as I am a nurse, and she told me to get it checked out immediately. Living in a new state, I never bothered to get a new doctor, so I had to start from square one.
My first doctors visit with Dr. Chatterjee turned from a “get to know you visit”, to ; “You can’t leave my office until I have all these tests set up for you.” I actually kind of laughed inside because I lived with it for so long, it didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel sick. The mammogram came back suspicious, which turned into a biopsy, in which turned into results of both invasive and noninvasive cancer.
With the help of my friend Barbara, I found a young women’s program at Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, Ma and the team accepted my case. Oh I can remember all of this like it was yesterday. It felt like a dream. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. I had to see a medical oncologist, a surgical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and a plastic surgeon all within a matter of a couple of weeks. I was first told I would most likely have radiation and chemotherapy and had to grasp that for a moment, but returning for more test results, I was told that it would be a mastectomy. Oh did I cry. I remember those words and my thoughts. “But you told me radiation and chemotherapy”. Then he went on to say, “There is both noninvasmive (ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS) and invasice cancer. We have to remove your left breast.”
So that is how my journey began…….
From the bottom of my soul,