In 2008, I was packing up mementos in my father’s attic after he had passed away when I felt a sharp pain below my left breast into my rib cage. I thought I had dislocated a rib and made an appointment with my chiropractor. I was out of alignment but afterwards it still hurt. I decided to move up my regular mammogram appointment. Nothing showed on the mammogram. The radiologist said I was good to go home. I said “No, I’m not. I want an ultrasound and I want an ultrasound now.” I was 42 years old, had no immediate family history of breast cancer, but my gut was telling me that something was wrong. I insisted.
After the ultrasound showed that something was there after all, she suggested I see a surgeon to have it aspirated. I met with a surgeon who had previously removed cysts I had. When the pathology report came back, he called to tell me the cells were conducive to DCIS and that I had breast cancer but that I’d be fine.
I always tell other women to get second opinions … the more information, the better. I got five opinions! I chose to have a lumpectomy and had to have chemo and radiation. My friends gave me strength. They came to my treatments, cooked for me, did my laundry and just kept me company. My co-workers were my cheerleaders. My doctors were incredibly supportive. I also saw an amazing therapist who specializes in treating cancer patients. Speaking to other survivors in my age range was helpful to me too. That’s why I wrote my book, to be there for other women. “Why Buy A Wig … When You Can Buy Diamonds” is a memoir about my breast cancer experience. I’m hoping it will be published in the fall of 2014. I have a blog at www.randirentz.com. It keeps me motivated and warms my heart when a newly-diagnosed woman says that reading the blog helped her to create her own “diamond moment.”