Breast Cancer Survivor
I was 35 years old when I got “that phone call.” I'd never given breast cancer a second thought. That was something that happened to other women - not me. Nobody in my family had ever had breast cancer, so I never worried about it. One night in March of last year, I was lying in bed unable to sleep. I'd never been good at remembering to do my monthly self breast exams. For some reason on that night - I did one. And there it was - the lump. I hate that word. And it was big. I thought - nah, it's got to be nothing.
I called my family doctor the office first thing on Monday morning and had a mammogram that very day and an ultrasound the next day. I brought my scans to my surgeon had a consult, and a lumpectomy.
On May 1st, the phone rang, and it was my surgeon and I heard those words ... "I'm so sorry, Melanie. You have breast cancer." Ever have an out-of-body experience? I think I did at that moment. He proceeded to tell me that it was DCIS. I was thanking the Green Earth that I'd done my research and I knew what DCIS was. He told me that he'd have to do a wide re-excision, and then I'd have a course of radiation therapy and I should be just fine. Ok - another snip, a few zaps, and back to normal, right? I hung up the phone. Then I freaked out.
The hardest thing was telling my husband and telling my parents. Nobody ever tells you how to do that. "...um, can you pass the salt? I have breast cancer." Naturally, I delivered the news with very little grace. My nerves were frayed and I still felt like I was in a bad nightmare from which I could not awaken.
Less than two weeks later, I had another surgery. Now I was REALLY on pins and needles waiting for the lab results. The very next morning the surgeon called and told me that he hadn't gotten clear margins and that I would have to have a mastectomy. As mastectomy day loomed closer, I was feeling more and more empowered. My support system had grown, and my supporters were emanating such strength that it was boosting my courage. To make a long story short, the mastectomy successfully removed all remaining traces of cancer from my breast and I was able to have immediate reconstruction.
So now, it has been one year since that awful day and I've made some big life changes. I completely re-designed the way I nourish my body, and I've lost 26 pounds and six pants sizes. I meditate every night and I only eat organic meats & dairy products. I still have my kooky sense of humor. Even cancer can't kill that!!