Breast cancer is a scary thought and all too many women assume that it won’t happen to them. We are almost at the end of breast cancer awareness month and the PinkCab team wants to remind you how important it is to take this matter seriously. We also want to tell you that whatever has happened or might happen, you will always be as beautiful as you allow yourself to be. You were made in God’s image, you are amazing just the way you are and nothing can change that, not even cancer.
Make sure to do a checkup
Every ten minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Don’t be fullish, by the end of breast cancer awareness month 2018 go for a medical checkup, it might save your life.
Early signs of breast cancer can be a lump in a breast, a painful breast or armpit, or a discharge from the nipple. Even if none of these symptoms present themselves, a doctor should be visited to be sure. A doctor will most likely perform a manual exam and send you for a mammogram. A mammogram examination is mostly painless and only takes about ten to fifteen minutes.
If any of these symptoms do present themselves there’s no need to panic. Pain or a lump in a breast can be perfectly harmless. The pain can be a sign of a cyst or the lump can be benign. It’s always better to be sure though.
If the mammogram shows a lump, your doctor will order a biopsy. This test will show if the lump is benign (harmless) or malignant (cancerous). If the lump is cancerous there’s still no reason to panic. Early detection is a life saver. After an operation the lump is removed and the doctor will discuss further options with you.
If you’ve never had a mammogram, make an appointment during breast cancer awareness month 2018. You can take a friend or family member with you and once you have done this you’ll have peace of mind.
A Story from a Survivor
One of our followers asked to share her own story and we were glad to help her reach out to all of you.
When I was first told I had breast cancer, I was devastated. My gorgous D-cups were now going to be non-existent. For years, I’d waited to go through puberty and when I finally did, I got exactly what I hoped for! Mother Nature was kind to me, or at least that’s what I thought back then. Some may think this sort of vanity is a selfish and silly emotion. I loved my breasts and they made me feel beautiful and attractive.
It was on the weekend of my 27th birthday that my boyfriend alerted me to a lump in my left breast. At first dismissive of his concern, I eventually promised to see my gynecologist. Six months later, when I finally found the time, I only wished I had gone earlier.
I had cancer, an aggressive kind that had already spread to my lymph nodes. In official “cancer talk,” I have grade three invasive ductal carcinoma that is estrogen-, progesterone- and HER2Neu-positive.
When the breast surgeon presented my options, he gave me two. Option 1: a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation, and then reconstruction. Option 2: a mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and reconstruction.
But then he added, “Of course, you don’t have to choose reconstruction if you don’t want it.”
If I chose a lumpectomy, I’d have to have mammograms every three months. I hated mammograms! And if I went that route, there was always the chance the cancer would come back and I’d end up having to have a mastectomy anyway. If I chose mastectomy, I’d be lopsided since the cancer was only in my left breast. I discussed these things with my breast surgeon and he said I could opt for a double mastectomy. If I did that, I wouldn’t be lopsided but I’d be flat as a pancake. After a lot of thought and discussion with my family, I opted for the double mastectomy. I knew it was going to be extreme surgery and it was going to be very painful. I wasn’t looking forward to it.
My surgeon accepted my decision but told me about reconstruction options that would be available to me. He said I could have fat taken from my abdomen to make a new breast.
If I didn’t want to go that route and to be honest I did not have the money for it either, he said I could have fat taken from my back as an alternative. I knew I had more fat in my belly than on my back so that option was out. He also said they could take fat from under my arms and use it to make the new breast.
The more I thought about it, the more confused I got. If I didn’t want to use my own fat to make breasts, the surgeon said silicone implants could be used. He needed to know right away if I was considering any type of reconstruction because he’d need to leave space for expanders when they removed my breast tissue. Since I was already quickly going through all my savings and the money my family managed to collect, I figured there wasn’t really any point in going through the extra pain and expense of having reconstruction surgery done.
I’d read a lot about it and I’d found out that most breast cancer patients who opt for reconstruction are sorely disappointed in the results. Disappointments come from a loss of feeling in the breast tissue, a loss of the nipple and areola, and an unnatural appearance. With those things in mind, I decided to forego reconstruction.
It’s been 22 months since surgery. I’ve finally healed completely. When I look at myself sideways in a mirror, I’m as flat as can be. My blouses don’t fit any more because I don’t have breasts to fill them out. I usually opt for shirts that camouflage my flat chest or wear unisex clothing like sweatshirts or t-shirts.
Whe I look down at my chest, I sometimes get depressed. My breasts are gone. I loved my breasts. They would have nursed my child, they pleased my boyfriends, they made me feel feminine … they were a part of my identity. But as I smooth my hands over my chest, I feel satisfaction. I can smile knowing my cancer is gone, along with my breasts. I don’t have to wear bras any longer, unless I want to and if I want bigger prostheses, they’re available.
I do have a set of nice silicone breasts that I keep in my bedroom just in case I get the urge to feel voluptuous again, but most days, I opt for just being flat and fabulous. It’s all in the attitude and breasts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be anyway. I’m just happy to be alive, and if having no breasts reminds me that cancer didn’t win, I think I made the right choice.
Tell us how you feel
If you have your own personal story and want to share it with the world, feel free to reach out and contact us. If you haven’t done a checkup yet this year or month, please make sure to visit your doctor. Stay well and blessings be upon you.