When it comes to breast cancer, we all have a story. If not a personal story, surely there is a tale of someone near and dear to us that has been touched by breast cancer. Here’s my story:
My mother was first diagnosed at the age of 46 after a lump was noted in her left breast. Her biopsy came back estrogen receptor positive. She underwent a lumpectomy, had radiation treatment, then did a five-year treatment with tamoxifen. Sometime towards the end of her tamoxifen treatment, after several reports of being cancer-free, she stopped following up with her oncologist. On Christmas Eve of 2001, she admitted to the family that she had been self-medicating “some kind of cough” with Robitussin for at least three months. I’m not sure why she hadn’t sought medical treatment—maybe in her heart she feared the worst and wasn’t ready to cope with reality. After much urging from the family, she finally went to see a doctor in January of 2002. The doctor’s report: her breast cancer was back with metastasis to the lungs, hence, her persistent cough. Six months later, I watched my heartbroken grandparents bury their eldest daughter. My mother was 52 years old at her death.
Less than a decade later, my mother’s sister was diagnosed with stage 4, triple-negative breast cancer. I watched my aunt prepare for the battle of her life, and the battle for her life, with much faith. After a double mastectomy and numerous rounds of chemotherapy, she was declared cancer-free for four years. Then the headaches, vision changes, and dizziness began. Her breast cancer had metastasized to her brain. Her battle with cancer ended in 2014. I again watched my brokenhearted grandparents grieve over a lost daughter.
Oh, how I wish this was where my story ends. But breast cancer can write some very long tales. And for my grandparents, the story continued. Before their second-born daughter died from breast cancer, they received the news that their third daughter, their baby girl, had breast cancer. After a double mastectomy, I am happy to report, she is cancer-free and a SURVIVOR!
Lord, please, let my story END HERE!
The Herman & Walter Samuelson Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital offers screening, diagnosis, and treatment for breast cancer using some of the most advanced technologies. Dawn J. Leonard, MD, a fellowship-trained breast surgeon, is Medical Director. Soytopia is proud to donate 15% of the proceeds of our Pink, Moonsong, NightinGail’s Song, and Stargazer Lily collection to the Center to financially support women fighting breast cancer.