TELL US ABOUT YOUR DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER
In October 2017 I went for a regular mammogram. I had just turned 65 and needed a dexascan. Since some of the outlying clinics don’t offer dexascan, I decided to get both done at Apple Hill. I think that was my first blessing because by chance the tech asked if I would like to have a 3D mammogram. Had I gone to another imaging center that might not have been an option. Within two weeks, I was back for an ultrasound, then a biopsy, and a few days later had the diagnosis. It was invasive ductal carcinoma stage 1A, grade 2 when I had the surgery.
WHO SUPPORTED YOU? HOW?
Well, primarily my husband Rob. We are both retired from higher education. My family is out of town we have no one in the York area so we are pretty much best friends and support one another. Family did support me long distance though with flowers, cards, and emails. I didn’t have anyone to reach out to who has had breast cancer, but as you tell your story to people from your church or volunteer work or the gym, you learn about people you had never realized had breast cancer.
HOW DID YOU BECOME INTRODUCED TO THE PBCC?
I received a Friends Like Me care package, which was marvelous. I couldn’t believe all the wonderful things that were in there, all the goodies and reference materials.
Without the PBCC, I know there would be many women who would not have the treatment, the services, the healthcare, the information that they need. Many women would not know where to turn, what is the next step, what are the resources. Many would be trying to go through this alone.
ATTENDING MY FIRST PBCC CONFERENCE
I was overwhelmed with the number of women there! Over the breakfast, I was sitting next to some women and we started talking. We had that common bond and were so willing to share. I ran into an old colleague I worked with 25 years ago and we ended up having lunch together. I learned she had breast cancer 14 year earlier. There were so many wonderful opportunities for networking!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF? WHAT DO YOU WANT OTHER WOMEN TO LEARN?
You can ask ‘why is this happening to me?’ I have always been strong and healthy, working out, eating well. Your strength and determination is definitely tested. It was reassuring to know that I could deal with this setback. When you’re diagnosed it gives you pause to look at what is really important. I definitely want other women to have that mammogram and have it every year. Cost, or your schedule, or insurance coverage should not be a deterrent. There is no excuse for not taking care of yourself.