October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it’s also two years since I completed my chemotherapy. I am privileged to be a survivor and extremely thankful to medical science that has made my survival possible.
On March 3, 2011 my father passed away and rushed to Israel for the funeral and to spend time with my mother. I stayed for a month and the night before I was due to fly back to the US I felt the lump in my breast, and I knew instinctively it was cancer.
Just a few days later I was in Breast Care Center of my local hospital having a mammogram. I knew I had a lump, two lumps actually, but the mammogram machine couldn’t see them. Apparently I have dense breast tissue. An ultrasound detected my lumps and a biopsy confirmed that they were indeed cancer.
So here’s the thing ladies, had I not done a self-examination and just relied on the mammogram, I may not have been here today. So this October I encourage you all to do self-exams each month and if you think you’ve found something, have it checked and insist on an ultrasound.
Breast cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if it is found early. I was terrified when I found out I had cancer, but as I like to say, it’s amazing what you can get used to. Chemo wasn’t fun, but still there were bright spots: wonderful nurses at the Missouri Baptist Cancer Center, fellow patients who became friends, silly moments – like the one time my wig came off while I was waiting at the bus stop on Olive Street. But I got through it all, the chemo, the surgery and the radiation and today I’m cancer free!