Mary: Breast Cancer Survivor since 2009
In July 2008 Mary was vacationing in San Diego with her younger daughter and two of her grandsons. Mary realized that although the vacation was relaxing and totally enjoyable….she was still very tired all the time. In late October of 2008, her youngest grandson was sitting on her lap. When he jumped off her lap, his elbow struck the very spot that the lump was. She felt a sharp pain and knew that something was terribly wrong.
Mary scheduled an appointment with her Internal Medicine physician who referred her immediately for a mammogram. She was first diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. However, the results from her PET CT scan, found that the breast cancer had metastasized to her right hip bone, which changed the diagnoses to Stage 4 breast cancer. Two weeks later, Mary remembers sitting in the oncologist’s office with her close friend beside her. The oncologist finished explaining the treatment plan and asked her if she had any questions. Mary’s response was, “Will I be alive in 3 months?”
That may be your question or you may think that sounds pretty silly, but many of us still think a cancer diagnoses is a death sentence.
“Fear of finding cancer can be the reason why women don't want to schedule a mammogram, however, if a woman has breast cancer she needs to know as early as possible so that treatment can be minimized and the chance of survival is greater if found earlier." After chemo treatment and surgery, Mary beat the odds. She reminds us that technology is in our favor, “To be diagnosed with breast cancer IS NOT an automatic death sentence. We have come a long way in treatment of breast cancers and there is so much hope for successful treatment and survival rates. Don’t let anxiety or fear, the thought “it won’t happen to me” or, “I have more important things to do first” keep you from scheduling your annual mammogram.” Mary says, “As late as it was for me, through excellent treatment, surgery, radiation, a loving family and friends, and a positive attitude, I’m alive and cancer free today! Regular mammograms can save lives!