As October marches forward we at Handicap This Productions feel both privileged and honored to continue bringing you guest posts from breast cancer survivors. Today we thank Angie Melite for sharing her experiences. Within her post Melite demonstrates the importance behind annual mammograms and support systems.
It was a Saturday in October 2005 when my outlook on life took on a whole different meaning.
I had a scheduled appointment for a yearly mammogram. I always made sure that I went every year since my aunt passed away of breast cancer. The appointment went fine and I went on my way. What was ahead for me, little did I know.
On Tuesday I was at work when I got a phone call from my doctor, telling me he wanted me to see a surgeon. There were some suspicious cells that showed on my mammogram. He said that 99% of the time they were nothing. However, to be on the safe side I should see a surgeon soon.
The following week I went to see a surgeon, one of the two my doctor recommended. I had made up my mind after talking with my husband that I would see the first one that was available. The surgeon was very kind and understanding. He talked with
both my husband and I in laymen’s terms about what the mammogram showed, explaining how we would proceed.
First he would do an ultrasound and see what that showed. The ultrasound turned out inconclusive. As a safety precaution I was still scheduled for a lumpectomy. Of course, before you can have surgery you must have all the pre-ops. I had my lumpectomy two weeks later and learned the suspicious cells were cancerous.
Then in December I had surgery again to remove the tumor and waited two more weeks to see if they got it all. Well, they did not. So, next I had a pet scan to determine if the cancer spread. Lucky for me it was only in that spot. I had surgery again the middle of January and this time they got it all.
During this time I read a book a friend gave me, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book by Susan M. Love. It told exactly what may or may not happen. If the mentioned situation occurred, everything that my doctor did was just like it said in the book.
In February 2006 I started my round of six weeks of radiation. When that was over I took a pill everyday for the next five years. I was very lucky that my breast cancer was caught early. It is approximately seven and a half years I have been cancer free.
My husband was my rock. When I had doubts, he talked me through them. When I wanted to cry, he was right there holding me. He was even ready to shave his head if I had to have chemo. I am very lucky.
Along with my husband I had my family and friends. Everyone wanting to help in any way they could.
In June of 2006 I joined a team that was participating in the Relay for Life. I did that for two years and then a co-worker and I, both cancer survivors, formed another team which we kept going for three years.
My place of employment was very understanding and gave me the freedom to have my radiation, along with my other appointments, when it was convenient for me. At the workplace my co-workers were around offering a helping hand whenever I needed it.
What I learned is to take every day, one day at a time. I no longer worry about sticking to a time table or things that are beyond my control. My husband, family, and friends were and are my support.
I continue to go for my mammogram every year and see my oncologist annually, reminding all my family and friends that they should do the same too.