A Mammogram Saved My Life

October 15 is Nationwide Mammography Day.

As informed to Jackie Froeber

The mammogram stars aligned for me in 2017. I used to be working at St. Peter’s Well being Companions and popped right into a co-worker’s workplace to say hello. On her desk was a flier promoting free mammograms over the weekend for workers.

I had simply turned 40 two months earlier, and since I did not have any plans that weekend, I signed up.

Though my grandmother had breast most cancers, I wasn’t apprehensive or anxious in regards to the screening. She was a lot older when she was recognized, and though it appears naive now, I did not assume a younger, in any other case wholesome lady like myself needs to be involved. I signed up as a result of it was handy.

That Saturday in February I had my mammogram and did not give it a second thought. I spent the remainder of that weekend hanging out with my youngsters and my husband and obtained up for work on Monday like each different weekday. That afternoon, I obtained a name from the physician’s workplace the place I would gotten my mammogram. They mentioned I wanted to come back again in for follow-up imaging and an ultrasound. At the back of my thoughts, I remembered studying that dense breast tissue like mine could make it more durable to judge the outcomes of a mammogram, so I wasn’t pushing the panic button but.

After I had the repeat mammogram and ultrasound, I met with a form and affected person nurse navigator named Mary who reviewed my outcomes, which confirmed calcifications in my proper breast. Mary defined that breast calcifications are widespread and sometimes benign (non-cancerous), however I nonetheless wanted a needle biopsy — which I had two weeks later. At that time, I did not really feel the necessity to inform my household till I knew precisely what was happening. Why trigger a fuss over one thing that was in all probability nothing?

Per week or so after the biopsy, I used to be packing up my issues to depart the workplace once I obtained a telephone name. It was my main care physician with my biopsy outcomes: It was most cancers.

Listening to these phrases felt like a ton of bricks falling from the ceiling. I heard my physician say that she was going to set me up with a breast surgeon, however at that second I used to be solely excited about my youngsters. In my thoughts, most cancers equaled dying. However I needed to be right here for my youngsters. I wasn’t simply emotional — I used to be terrified.

I known as my good friend and co-worker who works on the ground above me. “I’ve most cancers,” I blurted out into the telephone. Now, I used to be panicking.

I heard her footsteps operating down the steps earlier than I may say the rest. She listened to me and known as Mary, the nurse navigator, who may assist me with questions and subsequent steps.

When Mary and I went to the breast surgeon, I used to be a ball of nerves. Mary was calm and wrote all the things down, which helped me course of the go to. The surgeon advisable a lumpectomy however wished an MRI to get a greater have a look at the fitting breast earlier than transferring ahead. It was a very good factor she did: The MRI outcomes confirmed most cancers all through your entire breast, which meant {that a} lumpectomy was now not an choice. I would want a mastectomy and reconstruction surgical procedure, and due to scheduling, it might be one other few weeks till I may get in for the surgical procedure.

Daily that I waited was agony. It was maddening to know that I had most cancers within me, and I wished it out. Every day that handed had me questioning if it was rising or transferring. I used to be nonetheless working full time and making an attempt to maintain my thoughts off the analysis and surgical procedure, however the entire scenario was emotionally draining. By this time, my husband knew, however not my youngsters. I used to be simply so scared and did not wish to give them unhealthy information or make them fear.

A few week earlier than the surgical procedure my 15-year-old son, Machai, requested, “What is going on on with you, mother?” He sensed one thing was off. After we informed him, he was so sturdy. “Simply get it taken care of, mother,” he mentioned. “You are going to be superb.” After I informed my 12-year-old daughter, Mady, she instantly began crying and fell into my arms. It took all I had in me to be sturdy for Mady and Machai and inform them I used to be going to be okay (even when I did not precisely know if that was true). We snuggled that whole night time, they usually did not wish to depart my aspect.

In April, two months after my preliminary mammogram, I had a mastectomy and reconstruction surgical procedure. In the course of the surgical procedure, the physician took lymph nodes to see if the most cancers had unfold. Happily, the lymph nodes had clear margins, which means that it had not traveled exterior of the breast. And the most effective information ever: I might not want radiation or chemotherapy. I used to be going to be superb.

At this time, 4 years later, I am most cancers free. I nonetheless work at St. Peter’s, they usually nonetheless supply the free screening occasions that saved my life. Trying again, I do know {that a} mammogram wasn’t on my record of issues to do once I turned 40, and I truthfully do not know once I would have scheduled one. I are likely to put different individuals first — like many ladies do — however this expertise taught me that you would be able to’t postpone important well being checks. It’s so vital for ladies to do month-to-month breast self-exams and have their yearly mammograms. Early detection saves lives, and I am residing proof of it!

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