On January 13, 2012 I received the message from Dr. Martin that my biopsy results were back and I had a treatable breast cancer in my right breast called DCIS(Ductal Carcinoma in Situ)-he informed me that the standard of care was to have a lumpectomy and radiation. I was instantly set up with the surgeon, radiation, genetic counseling and scheduled to have an MRI. Working in oncology for almost 8 years, I was uncertain as to which option I would choose as we had a motto in our office that, “if any of us was diagnosed with breast cancer, we would just cut them off and get a new pair”. That sounded easy when we said it, but the thought of doing something so radical at 45 was very scary to me. I had never had a normal mammogram in my life. Every year, since 40, I would be called back for additional imaging-sometimes for the right breast and sometimes for the left.
The MRI results found another place in the right breast that had never been seen on any prior films. After discussing the results with Dr. Martin and Dr. Gallaher, I made a decision to had a double mastectomy as my fear was that I would never have any peace in my life. Every mammogram I would be fearful of the next spot.
My decision kept me awake and praying daily until the date of my surgery. My family was supportive of my decision, but of course terrified as well. I knew God had a purpose for my pain, but at times it was difficult to remember.
After surgery, the path report that came back three days later informed me that the other place in the right breast was a Stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma, but I was fortunate to have no lymph node involvement which solidified my decision to have a mastectomy. I awaited the results of the OncoType which came back with a score of 12 stating I was low risk for re-occurrence. This meant that I did not have to have chemo or radiation.
The next year of my life was spent having numerous surgeries for reconstruction and fighting depression, as well as the possibility that I might not be able to continue working in oncology. Every patient who called in to our office with a new mass and the same surgeries and condition I had became me. I wrestled with my fears and finally came to the conclusion that I am not in control of anything in my life after all. God is the only one in control, and when I accepted this fact I was able to accept my fears.
It has now been 5 years since I was originally diagnosed, and I have spoken to numerous patients over the years providing them with support and discussing options for surgery with them. As I look back I realize I was so fortunate to not only have wonderful physicians but also work at a place where I can share my story and use my experience to be the best Operations Manager for our company possible. It is never an option for me to not give our patients the best care and support at TCS. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to go through this temporary trial in my life time which inspires me to not only be a better person to everyone I meet but to also be the boss I would want to have. I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity.