40th Birthday Present

In April 2006, I turned 40 years old and my doctor decided that it was time to schedule my first mammogram. In late June 2006, I went in for what I thought at the time would be a routine scan. Little did I expect in the following weeks I would face a core biopsy, mastectomy, and lumpectomy. I was diagnosed with Stage IIB breast cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, and herceptin followed. I can say that this was the hardest 18 months of my life but also the most eye opening. I took being healthy for granted. I took everything for granted. Going through treatment and being in constant contact with cancer patients, made me realize how lucky I was. I was one of the fortunate patients whose cancer was caught early. Having my mammogram, saved my life! I am 2 1/2 years out of major treatment waiting patiently for that 5 year mark. I take tamoxifen daily and see the doctor every six months. I still get scared everytime there is blood work or a scan, but I don't live my life in constant fear. I am a fighter and a survivor. I have read many stories on this website as well as other breast cancer sites and those stories pulled me through some very rough days. Knowing that others felt the same way I did gave me comfort, some sense of normal. I have been very lucky to have such great support from my family, my best friend, Debbie (also a breast cancer survivor), my co-workers/friends, and the entire Cancer Care staff. Always remember, it is the people in your life that is important, so please take care of yourself and the people close to your heart. Live, Laugh, Love
Jackie Reynolds
Decatur, IL