As a 37 year parapledgic, I had learned to deal with all the physical challenges which accompany bening paralyzed. I never thought or even considered that any other physical ailment would attadk my already medically fragile body.
At 40, when I had my first mammogram, a lump smaller than a pencil eraser was found. My biopsy confirmed it was cancer. With no history of breast or any other cancer in my family genes, I had my first lumpectomy. It all seemed rather routine, the lumpectomy, the checking and taking of the lymph nodes, and the radiation therapy. Tamoxifen was not an option due to my paralysis and the risk of blood clots. Treatment was completed and I awaited my five year all clear.
Well, my all clear turned into my second bout with cancer. It came almost five years to the exact date of my first encounter. Again it was smaller than the top of a pencil eraser and it had not invaded my lymph nodes. I now had to decide on a lumpectomy, maybe every five years or a mastectomy with no assurance it would not occur in the other breast.
A decision filled with much prayer, family and friends counseling, and pastoral advise was made. I opted for the mastectomy and never looked back. I did however again wait for my five year all clear. Each year I held my breath and each year I made more healthy lifestyle changes. I added exercise , reduced my intake of refined sugar and processed food, and began eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, My all clear came as I went for my yearly mammogram, "Everything looks fine see you next year!" I was thrilled, on my birthday and I got and amazing gift: Cancer Free for 5 years!
Min. Denise E. Gilmore