Cancer is something that happens to other people – to people with pink ribbons on their car – people running marathons in news reports. It is not something that should happen to someone you know and love.
My wife is twelve years younger than me. She is not supposed to have a condition that is life threatening – that should be my future – I accept that, I’m old.
Two weeks ago my wife had a mammogram and the clinic contacted her for a retake. There was a small suspicious spot and her doctor recommended an ultrasound. The spot was confirmed and the surgeon recommended a biopsy. The biopsy results came back Invasive Lobular Carcinoma: Breast cancer. This all happened within a week.
Suddenly our lives were upside down.
Yesterday my girl went in for a lumpectomy. This is not a pleasant procedure. First a wire was placed in her breast during an ultrasound to exactly mark the tumor for the surgeon. Next radioactive serum was injected into the tumor, then we had a two hour wait for the serum to move through the lymph nodes – this allows the surgical team to identifying the first nodes directly in line with the malignancy. Finally, during the surgery, the tumor and the surrounding area, along with three lymph nodes under the arm were removed.
Now we wait for the results of the lymph node evaluation, and if they are clear than no further surgery is required.
In a few weeks my girl will be scheduled for radiation therapy: five days a week for six weeks. Lastly she will be on hormone medication for the next five years.
My beautiful, feminine wife is without a doubt the bravest woman I have ever known. I was so uptight I felt I was going to explode, and she was calm, focused and accepting. Her courage pulled me though this chaos.
My wife has had yearly mammograms and that has allowed us to catch this cancer in a very early stage.
There is no history in my wife’s family of breast cancer. If you have a wife, lover, mother, sister or daughter that is not getting yearly mammograms you should insist they begin. It is now obvious to me that breast cancer can strike any female in any family.