My breast cancer journey began 30+ years ago when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time. I knew at that point I would likely be diagnosed with breast cancer too. I did not anticipate it would occur the year of a pandemic just months after my father’s death.
My mammogram from Oct 2019 did not indicate any suspicious lesions but since my breasts are dense alternative screening was recommended. I planned to alternate ultrasound (US) and mammogram every six months. However, when March 2020 arrived screening was not being performed and it was not until mid-June when I received my US which indicated calcium deposits. I had a diagnostic US and then a US guided biopsy and received the results of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) on July 8th. I was disappointed but not surprised. Mom’s pathology report from 2003 showed DCIS on the same right side; my son is 21 years old, the same age I was back those many years ago when mom was diagnosed with cancer.
I was pleased to see a breast surgeon on the 10th just two days after my diagnosis. She explained what was know about my cancer and requested genetic testing and an MRI due to my dense breasts and my mother’s history. Genetic testing revealed no known mutations associated with breast cancer. MRI indicated no cancer in the left breast or axilla but in the right breast cancer was 4 times larger than shown in the biopsy and might be invasive.
Making life-changing decisions during a pandemic when my emotional reserve is already at an all-time low has been taxing to say the least. Friends and family have been supportive. Yet, I will need an army of helpers to make it through the next several months.
Surgery for breast cancer is scheduled for Monday, August 3rd at Hartford Hospital. I will be on leave from work for 4-6 weeks.