Luzerne County Survivor Diagnosed at 38, Finds New Lease on Life After Breast Cancer

Posted By on August 17th, 2015 at 9:15 am | 0 comments.

Melissa Cole for PLMelissa Cole – Luzerne County

My husband Mike and I were in the process of moving in with his parents. I was loading books into a crate and bruised my chest wall. When the pain didn’t go away after a while, my husband was checking the bruise and said “Do you know you have a lump in your breast?”

I was 38 years old and had done breast self-exam regularly but hadn’t found this lump. It was deeper than I could feel but the injury may have pushed it forward. I had chest X-rays done and the doctor said you need to have a mammogram.
I went to Geisinger Women’s Imaging Center and learned I have dense breast tissue. I had a lumpectomy, 33 radiation treatments and then went on anastrozole.
My family was very supportive. We were up front with our 12 year-old son Chase. He understood and was there to help me whenever I needed him. I teach toddlers at Little Meadows Learning Center and my co-workers brought us food and helped with gas money. To this day, my friends still check on me.
My friend Barb Bowman had been diagnosed with breast cancer before me and she encouraged me to go to the PBCC Conference. She said it would help me to learn how to move forward and live my life. That conference was amazing! The classes were great; I feel like I learned so much. The vendors were a big help too. I wasn’t sure at that time if I’d have to have a mastectomy and at the conference I was able to see and feel a prosthesis and know what it would be like if I had a mastectomy and didn’t have reconstruction.
Now I tell other women not to be afraid to go to the doctor if you find something. It’s important. It took cancer to settle me down but now I know my life is my life and I’m going to live it the way I need to. I’m living a happier life.
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

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