I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of this year. It occurred during my initial meeting with the oncologist at the Lillian S. Wells Women’s Health Center at Broward Health Medical Center. I tested positive for the BRCA 1 mutation in April and had requested to be placed in a monitoring group to be checked every six months with a mammogram, ultrasound and/or MRI for any changes. My 35-year-old daughter was also tested and she too tested positive for the mutation.
When my family heard the news, they were devastated, especially my daughter. One of my sisters had just finished her second bout of breast cancer and another sister had just undergone a total hysterectomy as a result of grade 3 uterine cancer, undergoing chemo and radiation. My 28-year-old niece was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer and had chemo, radiation and a bi-lateral mastectomy with breast reconstruction.
If that wasn’t enough for our family to endure, three of my sisters, three nieces, my daughter and I all tested positive for the BRCA 1 mutation.
I am very fortunate that the medical team at the Women’s Center found my breast cancer in its early stages. I cannot put into words how caring and thorough they were during my treatment.
My cancer was isolated to the right breast, and after discussions with my oncologist and surgical oncologist, I decided to have a bi-lateral mastectomy in August.
I live alone but my daughter stayed with me to attend to all my needs during the first week of recovery. I never would have recovered so quickly, and so well, without her at my side. I’m very lucky to have a loving and supportive family and friends who are there to help me. I know this kind of love and support will follow me through any treatment period, and my reconstruction.
I will begin my chemo treatments within the next few weeks and it’s scheduled to last as long as a year. I keep a positive attitude and realize that this is just a bump in the road. There are so many people out there that have something more upsetting to deal with. I’m a lucky lady to have been in a position to catch the cancer at an early stage.
From the scheduling of my BRAC 1 test, to my subsequent mammogram, ultrasound, early detection and surgery, I received exemplary care from every member of the medical team. The level of patient care at Broward Health is amazing.
It can’t be said enough; a positive attitude means everything in the battle against cancer. At the age of 60, I learned not to sweat the small stuff and to enjoy the moment to its fullest. Plus, always let the people who are in your life know how you appreciate and care for them.
My daughter and I do the three-day, 60-mile breast cancer walks in a different city each year. I want to get involved in helping other breast cancer patients. It’s my small way of giving back.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun