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I first learned I had cancer the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. I was told it was a small area and caught early, two very important facts. My whole world came crumbling down.
My first reaction was that I was going to die, but my second reaction was, NO I WILL NOT DIE. I knew this was something I didn’t want to go through, but I was not going to give in to it. I promised my daughter that night that I would walk the Relay for Life Survivors lap the following summer and I did.
The kind of cancer I had was invasive ductal carcinoma and after much consideration, I elected to have a mastectomy. My surgery was on December 12, 2008 and I got along really well. The cancer was not found in any lymph nodes and after the pathology report came back, the stereotactic biopsy I had done, had actually removed the entire small lesion. I didn’t have to have any chemo or radiation.
Since I have a family history of blood clots, and the medication of Tamoxifen, which is usually prescribed for my type of cancer, can cause that, I was not comfortable with taking it. My Oncologist was okay with that, due to the path report and nothing in the lymph nodes.
In July 2010, I developed a non-cancerous lump in the other breast and on the advice of my Oncologist; I had another mastectomy with reconstruction and tissue expansion. Several problems arose out of this procedure, but I am doing well today. I am 4 years out next month. I had always had regular mammograms and the one I had in late October of 2008, SAVED MY LIFE.
At the time, I didn’t know why I had developed cancer as there was no knowledge of it in my family. Just this last year, I learned that my father’s mother, who died when I was only 4 years old, had it and it had spread to her lungs. I always thought she died of lung cancer. I also learned that her daughter, my aunt, developed breast cancer at the age of 91. I am not sorry I had breast cancer because I have learned so much about myself. I could not have gone through it without the help of my daughter and other family & friends, coworkers, church family and people I didn’t even know very well. God was so good to me, he gave me the kind of cancer that was best for me, and it could have been a lot worse.
PLEASE ALWAYS HAVE A MAMMOGRAM; IT MAY SAVE YOUR LIFE, LIKE IT DID ME!
~Lana Mellies, Business Office