After 30 years of having mammograms regularly, and with no family history of the disease, I was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation. Twice more, "suspicious cells" were seen on my mammograms. I had two more biopsies, and the cells removed were deemed pre-cancerous. When more of these suspicious cells appeared in the breast that had had the radiation, I decided I couldn't do this for the next 20 years. With my husband's total support, and my surgeon's agreement, I had a double mastectomy and began reconstruction while on the operating table. It's been a 6-month project and has required 3 surgeries to complete, but I feel safe now. I've beaten breast cancer, and although it was by no means easy, it is a viable alternative to continued biopsies and the uncertainty of repeated findings and biopsies. This may not be for everyone, but it has given me a new lease on life. Everyone needs to be aware of the possibilities in treatment for this disease, and those possibilities begin with regularly-scheduled mammograms.
I want to honor Cindy, the mother of my thirteen year old twin grandsons. Her cancer was discovered at the age of forty-one thanks to a mammogram and early detection. Last October, Cindy, her sister, and I participated together in the Philadelphia 3-Day to raise money for breast cancer awareness, detection, treatment, and research. Just thirteen months after a bilateral mastectomy, Cindy walked sixty miles and raised $20,000. She raised the fourth largest amount of money out of 3,500 participants. She is an amazing mother and daughter! Our family is blessed to have her.