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It was the summer of 2003, and school had just let out. I am teacher, and usually take care of all my yearly appointments in the summer. I was 59 at the time, in good health, no history of any breast cancer in my family. I exercised, ate healthy, and really tried to take care of myself. I went for my yearly mammogram, having done this uneventfully for the past 10 years. This time was different. I could see it on the radiologist's face! And, so it went....more mammograms, needle biopsy, diagnosis...invasive lobular cancer, stage 1. I think I was in shock because I felt if it could happen to me, then, it could happen to anyone!!! I cried at first, like we all do, then went into fighting mode. Bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, 4 rounds of chemo with hair falling out. No radiation, thank goodness since it was not close to the chest wall. I did not work during that time, and my husband also happened to lose his job at the same time. It was really a blessing to have him home with me most of the time. God was good!! Our church basically fed us for those months, and in March, 2004, I got a call to come back to work to take the place of a teacher who had left. By that time, my hair was growing back, I felt I needed to get my life back to normal, whatever that meant! Within 24 hours of my getting that call, my husband got a call to go back to work! It has now been 11 1/2 years, and I remain cancer free. Cancer treatment is hard, I will not lie, but there is life beyond cancer. I am now 71 years old, still teaching 3rd graders at a great school! Oh, and I forgot to say, my son was just finishing 5th grad when all this happened and now he is married and a special ed teacher of severely autistic elementary students!! Life is GREAT!!!
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