From the moment of my diagnosis of breast cancer, May 23, 1996, I have felt I am on a journey.   Sixteen years ago today hearing those words changed my life and the life of my family forever.

Right before this occurrence, I was happy plodding along adjusting to our two children in college.  When Will went first the year before, it was a huge emotional adjustment.  The second time when Holly left it was a bit easier, because I had already experienced the emotional trauma.

I was thrilled when Will picked Randoph-Macon College and applied for early decision and was accepted.  And I was equally as thrilled when Holly decided to go there also.  I felt that they would have each other for three years, and I am sure that helped them for the traumas that were to follow.

The weekend before that fateful call-back to a mammogram, Stacy and I went to a battle reenactment in Orange, Va.  That would be the last one I’ll ever attend.  (I’m just like that about life events)

When that call came that I needed another mammogram, it was not that upsetting because it had happened before.  In fact, they were watching one of my breasts every six months.  And I had been having mammograms for 20 years.  Yes I said that right.  I had a non malignant tumor when Holly was two, and thought at that time with my pessimistic medical outlook that I was going to die.  From that time on, I thought I was doing the right thing getting mammograms every year, but was that ever a mistake.

To this day, I think all that radiation 2-3 images a side caused the mutations in my DNA and RNA to give me breast cancer.  That would be anywhere from 60-90 mammogram looks in 20 years.  Oh yes, they always said dense breasts. (That is another blog)  And in the early days of those mammograms, I am sure the radiation was much higher than they are now.

That call back mammogram led to 8 more mammograms, an ultrasound, and a CAT scan of the breast.  That led to a needle localization with ultrasound and a breast excisional biopsy.  That is something that is changed now in breast cancer diagnosis.  It was MUCH safer doing it this way because all of the tumor was removed.  It wasn’t pierced with a needle and then cells taken out to spread all over the breast.

I am getting a little ahead of myself because my next post will be a copy of the story I wrote for The Free Lance Star explaining what it was like to be diagnosed with breast cancer and what happened next.


The “about” area of this blog is NOT the same as the first post, so you might want to read it.