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A couple of weeks before Christmas of 2008, I felt a suspicious lump in my left breast, and I just knew my life would be changed forever. I had seen my mother successfully battle breast cancer twice, so I knew the odds were that I was about to begin my own battle 2 months before my 44th birthday.

After a stressful Christmas, I made an appointment with my primary care physician, on New Year's Eve, who confirmed that he felt the lump as well, though small. He immediately made an appointment for me with a surgical nurse, who after reviewing the ultrasound, informed me that it was not a cyst, but rather a mass. Well, that was a rather eventful way to bring in the new year. Instead of witnessing the historical inauguration of a candidate who I had worked very hard to see elected, I'd get to have a biopsy-yaah!

Next there was the needle biopsy, where I was informed that it was highly unlikely that I had cancer because the tissue did not have much blood, so I left feeling very optimistic. However, a couple of days later, I received the call from my "no longer very optimistic" radiologist, that I in fact had invasive ductal carcinoma.

After a successful lumpectomy, and surgery in February, which resulted in the finding of no lymph node involvement, clear margins, and a tumor smaller than 1.0 cm, I was now a Stage 1 breast cancer patient.

I finished radiation in May, and after receiving a new lease on life, I left a job that I had always hated, mended important relationships, discarded toxic ones, and got on with living. I'm so glad to be here!

Alma Busby-Williams
Walnut Creek, CA

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