Strong Foundation and Faith Helps Erie Survivor Stay Positive

Posted By on June 15th, 2015 at 8:34 am | 0 comments.

bettylouperkins2BettyLou Perkins, Erie County

I never felt a lump and neither did my doctor, but when I had my annual mammogram on October 20, 2014, they found a little 5 mil. spot. I’ve always been faithful in getting that annual mammogram.
I had a biopsy and then on December 4th they phoned the results to me and confirmed that I had invasive lobular breast cancer. My first thought was “Merry Christmas!” But then I thought well, it is what it is and you have to do what you have to do and you’re going to beat this.
The appointment with the breast surgeon was lengthy. There was so much information to try to comprehend, but after you hear the word “cancer” your mind just kind of stops. It’s like trying to digest a whole buffet.
Then they recommended an MRI because sometimes there are other spots and you could miss that with the lumpectomy and the MRI did find another spot. The first one was at 1 or 2 o’clock and the second one was closer to the nipple.
January was spent waiting for the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon’s schedules to get coordinated. You know you have cancer, you know you have to have surgery, and then you have to just wait.
My mother was a colon cancer survivor and she was my inspiration while I was going through chemo. Whenever I thought I couldn’t do it, she would say “I know what you’re saying and I felt that way too. I did it at 81 years old and so can you.” I’m sad to say that she passed away a few weeks ago but she was 88 and she had a great life.
I’m a registered nurse and work in labor and delivery at UPMC Hamot. I started there on June 4, 1979 and 35 of those years have been in labor and delivery. I get to see a miracle every day!
I tell everyone to get that mammogram! Someone recently said to me that they were a little overdue for one, probably about a year overdue. I said when we are finished talking you’ll be calling to schedule it. If one woman can be saved by me telling her to get a mammogram, it’s worth everything to me. Hopefully even more than one will. My only other advice is to keep a positive attitude and if you don’t have a faith, get a faith. Your faith will get you through. You can’t do this all by yourself.

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