“I wanted to throw up when they asked us to have a seat.”
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month we spoke with a number of our breast cancer survivors to understand how the diagnosis and treatment impacted their physical health and personal connections with their family. Through a series of blog posts, we’ll share different aspects of their stories with you.
Finding out that you have breast cancer and you need to make some tough decisions, is not remotely easy. This week three women shared how it felt to receive the life-changing news.
Finding out she had breast cancer, blindsided Kelly. In over thirty years of work, she had only taken one sick day.
“Dr. Clifford and his nurse went over my diagnosis in his office. I wanted to throw up when they asked us to have a seat. They were so caring as my husband and I sat there stunned.”
No matter how heart-stopping these moments seem, she now had to come to terms with the road she was now on. She continues,
“[I had to come to an] understanding I had a big journey ahead of me [that] was difficult to face.”
Sometimes the news isn’t shared behind closed doors alongside a loved one. Rather, as another patient relates,
“If you work full-time, you’re juggling your scans and tests and you’re telling very few people at work. Doctors work the same hours as corporate America. Majority of people in corporations don’t have privacy. So you get the call and have to figure out how you’re going to handle the call. You’re eager to get results or you’re trying to get them by making calls to doctor. So people go out to their cars in parking lots and have the conversation with the doctor or nurse navigator, but then have to go back to into office.”
This, was Roma’s experience. Choosing not to hide the news, she called her husband, who was also at work, from the car. Afterwards, she chose to be open and to share her news when she got it with her close co-workers because her life was forever changed.
Sometimes that life-changing news doesn’t always come as a surprise. Barb, elaborates,
“My mammogram in June did not indicate a tumor. I found the tumor in August and then it was a rapid mammogram, rapid ultrasound and rapid biopsy. Over mere days. Instinctually I knew it was cancer because of that rush and because my primary physician had told me that cancer tumors don’t hurt. In addition, when [the doctor] did the biopsy, he had to use a lot of pressure to get the needle into the tumor. I could feel that pressure and he was very honest and told me right then that cancer tumors have a hard shell (not his words) that can be difficult to penetrate. So while I was waiting for the call, it wasn’t to confirm cancer. It was to get the answer of how bad and next steps. I actually think my knowing ahead of time was a blessing as I had time to get past that part and focus on what he was telling me – the type, what that means, the next steps.”
Whether it be a gut feeling or in the arms of a loved one, receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can leave you wondering, how to be prepared for what’s next. In next week’s article, we will explore what things, breast cancer patients wish they had known prior to receiving treatment.
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