I had taken the day off work to spend time with my daughter who was home from college. But a happy day suddenly turned into a day of panic. While doing a breast self exam I found a lump and I just knew that something was not right. I immediately called Park Nicollet, and they got me in for a mammogram that day. Since I was only 41 and had no family history of breast cancer, we thought it might just be a cyst. But a biopsy confirmed it was breast cancer, and I subsequently underwent six treatments of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and two breast reconstruction surgeries.
Since being diagnosed I’m more aware of my body and any changes that occur. This experience taught me that breast cancer can happen to anyone at any time – you don’t have to have the gene or family history. I’ve also learned to enjoy life more and to appreciate every moment. Going through breast cancer has made me a stronger person and shown me how supportive people in my life can be.
I’ve begun to realize that there is so much of life left after cancer and looking to that for inspiration makes the process easier to deal with. You will do things in life you never thought you would do because you realize how short and precious life is. You may lose your breasts, feel sick and lose your hair, but you will be okay and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I want other women to know that mammograms are not scary, and that the technology is far more advanced than it used to be. The nurse advocates make dealing with breast cancer a lot easier and they make you feel comfortable. I am now a strong advocate for breast self exams and the importance of early detection. My two daughters are my inspiration and I will do anything to beat this for them. I want to be there for them throughout their lives.
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