Always a member of the club

Breast cancer survivor tells her story

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By ERB

Should you have a Mammogram?  You had one last year. Maybe you could skip the irritating inconvenience of losing valuable time to get your breasts compressed between cold glass this year?  

It is your choice but I am here to tell you this is a no-brainer for me.

June 2008, soon after my annual Mammogram, I was contacted to have a second exam.  I remember thinking how ironic should I have breast cancer because my sister, who lived only 50 miles away, had just been diagnosed in May.  Nobody in our immediate family had ever had breast cancer.  

The end result:  A small, pea-sized lump was detected.

A person can never fully relate until she/he receives such news.  Overwhelmed with medical terminology, multiple specialists and procedures, I reached out to The American Cancer Society.  Their volunteers were simply amazing filling me with much-needed hope.

The lump was removed along with multiple lymph nodes. I was truly blessed with a thoughtful, considerate, skilled surgeon in addition to wonderfully supportive doctors and staff.  At the end of my Radiation treatment the entire staff played graduation music and presented me with a diploma!

Okay, what is next?  Five years of taking a pill that potentially will cause you to have hot flashes (I'd just gotten over those), lose some hair (yes) and you might put on a few pounds (oh, joy).

It is now 2017.  I am stronger in many ways because of my experience.  I never chose to join this particular “club” but once you are a member, you are always a member.

I shudder to think how different things might have been should I have skipped the mammogram or if the lump had not been detected.  I know.  I lost a dear friend to breast cancer.  She had the tests, surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation treatment.  She went into remission.  However, two years later it had returned with a vengeance metastasized as Stomach Cancer.

Recently, I again walked in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure.  It was so uplifting to see and experience everybody: Supportive friends and family; the pictures and plaques “In memory of...”; the Warriors; the Survivors and the volunteers of all ages cheering, dancing and serving in many ways.

Schedule your mammogram today! Call Kootenai Outpatient Imaging at (208) 625-6300 or visit www.kh.org/imaging for more information. Imaging locations in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is looking for breast cancer survivor stories. The Press is requesting that breast cancer survivors tell their own story in about 400 words or less. We'll publish those stories with a photograph in the newspaper. We want to hear from you. Please submit your story to mstewart@cdapress.com or call Marc Stewart at 664-8176 ext. 2011.



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