On September 8, 2009 I went to my doctor for my annual physical. I’m very diligent about getting my regular checkup because I have a history…
On March 22, 1996 I was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer and given months to live. This doctor, my gynecologist, has been with me the entire time – she was my doctor even before the diagnosis, back when I was struggling with infertility and trying to have a baby. She was the very person who diagnosed the breast cancer. She is a phenomenal physician and a very trusted advisor, and now she is a friend.
During my last visit, my doctor, my friend, looked at my charts and my paperwork, then turned to me and said some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard.
“We can now call you cured.”
My breast cancer is gone. Done. Over. Nonexistent. We don’t have to use words like “remission” or “no evidence of disease” or talk about a “probability of recurrence.” This cancer that almost took me away from my children and my husband is truly cured. And just like I remember that day in 1996 when this same woman told me I had a deadly form of breast cancer, I will forever remember the day she told me I was cured.
I actually haven’t told many people about my latest news yet because I wanted to share it here in the DrGreene.com community. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I know there are many women – too many women – out there right now who have concerns about breast cancers. Perhaps you’re putting off a mammogram, or maybe you’ve found a lump and are waiting for news. Some of you are probably going through treatment right now, and I’m sad to say I know more than a few of you have lost loved ones to this disease.
I wanted to tell my story publicly on DrGreene.com for a number of reasons. First, my diagnosis of breast cancer was one of the reasons Dr. Greene and I changed our lifestyles and dedicated ourselves to sharing health information via DrGreene.com. Second, my experience as a cancer patient taught me important lessons about how patients need to participate in their own healthcare. And third, because I want to spread the word that people can live through a fatal diagnosis, even when the odds seem overwhelming.
My doctor told me that when she talks to other women with breast cancer, she calls me her poster child. What I had was supposed to be fatal, and if I can beat that cancer, others can, too.
Share your story… how has breast cancer affected your life?
Tomorrow’s Post… Getting the Diagnosis: All You Hear is “Cancer”