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On October 5th, 2016 we had the honor of working with 9 beautiful Breast Cancer survivors. They each wrote about their journey in their own words.
As my family planned a huge party to celebrate my 50th birthday, we also were preparing for my bilateral mastectomy just three days later. A mammogram earlier that summer had given me a clean bill of health, but an MRI weeks later led to the diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in October of 2013. I had faithfully visited Temecula Valley Imaging every few years, as I watched my mother and my aunt (her sister) deal with pre-menopausal breast cancer in their forties, and I was well aware that “early detection saves lives”. I had confided in my younger sister, Meri, that I expected to get breast cancer someday, but nothing truly prepared me for the news I had been dreading my whole life.
I was aware that I had dense breast tissue, like many other women, but I didn’t realize this increased my chances of developing cancer, or that it made it more difficult for mammograms to detect cancer tumors. Thankfully, Dr. Amy Bremner of Breastlink in Murrieta recommended I have the MRI due to my family history, and the fact that I had dense breasts. My cancer diagnosis came after a biopsy of the suspicious area, which turned out to be the exact location of my mother’s tumor. Subsequent genetic testing came back negative for both of the breast cancer genes, but I feel strongly that there is a yet undiscovered gene lurking in my DNA that scientists have yet to identify.
Make sure every woman you love knows about self-breast exams, and gets their mammogram annually once they reach the age of 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, these screenings may need to be sooner. Additionally, in September of 2012 a Breast Density Notification Law (SB 1538) was enacted which requires physicians to inform women who have dense breast tissue of possible additional screening options. This new legislation saved my life!
I cannot tell you how many women I have met who shared that they have not yet had a mammogram because they were afraid of what they might discover. Early detection IS the key, and gives you the best chance to become a survivor if cancer is detected. You owe it to your family who loves you; please schedule your baseline mammogram today!
I am so very thankful to my amazing family who supported me throughout all of my surgeries. I’m also thankful to Janelle and Kimbo of the Bosom Buddies support group who were available to answer my questions, and continue to support me and other women fighting cancer. And last, but not least, I’m thankful for the many women who have paved the road before me so that my own journey was not so bumpy. I will continue to fight like a girl, be brave through whatever challenges lie ahead, and share my story with anyone who will listen!
Check out Kimberly’s Story HERE
Check out Debbie’s Story HERE
Check out Janelle’s Story HERE
Check out Maja’s Story HERE
Check out Crystal’s Story HERE
Check out Mary’s Story HERE
Check out Laura’s Story HERE
Check out Sylvia’s Story HERE