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In 1992 at 50 years old, I had a mammogram at 4 pm, and at 10 am the next day I knew I had a problem. I had breast cancer in the left breast. My mother and other family members had also had breast cancer and died from this. My doctor sent me to a surgeon who did a lumpectomy. They followed up with 31 radiation treatments and 7-1/2 years of Tamoxifen. I developed lymphadema in the left arm and took physical therapy. I have wrapped the affected arm since that time every night with ace bandages, I wear a compression sleeve daily.
I have been faithful in being sure to have yearly mammograms. This year when I had my mammogram, they told me I had a problem and would need some follow up screening. Though the mammogram was digital there were several tests I had to have before the diagnosis of malignancy. I had a spot compression, ultrasound, stereotactic core biopsy. The waiting for the results of the tests for diagnosis was horrible. I had moderately-differentiated infiltrating ductal carcinoma 1.5 cm in the left breast. It was the same breast, same type cancer, and same time of year. What a blow 16-1/2 years later.
We consulted with an oncology surgeon and we made the decision to remove both breasts and the lymph nodes in the left side. All the tests were clear of malignancy. But since the tumor is 1.5 cm I must take a hormonal chemo drug,
I have had the surgery and am working on healing the wounds. The damage done by the radiation years ago and the fact that I smoked, are making the healing of the skin much more of a challenge.
"whatever it takes to live, that's what we are going to do."
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