I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. I was 43 years old with no family history of the disease....and because I was under 50 with no history, it took me 1 full year, 3 mammograms and finally an ultrasound that I had to throw a hissy fit to get...to finally be sent for biopsies. I worked in the medical field, my husband and I both knew something was wrong, but with a history of fibrocystic breasts, my doctor kept insisting the right breast lump I felt, that was swollen and tender could not possibly be cancer....probably too much caffeine he said. He did order a mammogram though and I was told the lump I felt was a fibrocyst, cut down on caffeine and do warm soaks. Six months later, no relief and more insistence, I had mammogram number two. I was given the exact same advice and told cancer doesn't cause pain so the fact that I had pain was a good sign that it could not be cancerous. Six more months later, my right breast had dimpled, the color was changing and the pain was so severe I couldn't stand for it to be touched. When I went back to the doctor again, I was angry. My physician said he'd order a third mammogram and I told him if he didn't order an ultrasound this time I was finding another doctor because I was positive I had cancer. The technician did the mammogram, again insisting it was just a cyst but found a spot on the left breast this time as well and said it too looked like a cyst. I reminded them an ultrasound had been ordered and I would not leave without it being done and done by the radiologist, not a tech. When the radiologist was done, with a clearly concerned face, one full year after this story began, my world became a full on race as I was referred to the best breast surgeon in town for not 1, not 2, but 3 biopsies which were done the next day. Frozen sections were done as I continue to lay on my stomach on the stereotactic table with my breast viced into the table while waiting for results...I had cancer in both breasts large enough that required bilateral amputations...mastectomy for a kinder word. Within hours, schedules were made for CT scans, bone scan, sentinel node location, surgery with reconstruction. My families life took a turn on September 22, 2003 that started at stage 2.
Thanks for listening. I'm going to pet my three cats, then take a nap while I wait for my hubby to get back in town this evening and continue this story later.