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The Real Truth About Breast Cancer

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posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:03 PM
I guess I would be considered a late bloomer, or maybe just a procrastinator. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, until I was already grown. I went back to school, certain that my future wasn’t written in stone, and certain that I could be one of the success stories that you read about.

And I was a good student, actually at the top of my class. I excelled under pressure and cringed as the younger girls struggled to keep up their grades. They had a hard time juggling cheerleading and volleyball and partying and switching boyfriends like they switched their underwear. It was almost too much for them. They would cry and have tantrums when the professor requested their assignment for the 3rd week in a row. They always had excuses, and I always had my assignments. Having 3 children, a husband, a household to run and a 2 hour commute everyday didn’t slow me down one bit. And all of the girls secretly hated me, but that was just fine because I was going to shine as bright as I possibly could.

Every “A” was like a battle wound, it took every ounce of my energy, drained my body of strength, but was absolutely worth it in the end. I showed those “A” off like I had been at war and they were my medals of honor.
I graduated at the top of my class. Magna Cum Laude, member of two honors societies. With a scholarship from a local hospital, I was basically promised a position in my field. Damn life is GOOD!
Within two weeks of graduation I was working at MY hospital, making more money than even my husband and loving every frickin’ minute of it. I had earned this, I had worked my ass off for this and I wasn’t stopping for nothing in the world. I had made it. I had arrived.

Having struggled financially for years, it was so liberating. No more robbing from Peter to pay Paul. No more watching all of my Facebook friends post vacation pictures while I just sat at home. Oh no, that was all about to change. As soon as the bills were caught up WE were going on vacation, WE were going to be the ones posting pictures of our SUPER DUPER holiday. And I could breathe, I could literally breathe. Going back to school had been such a gamble. Like I said, money was tight and I prayed that it would all work out in the end. And it had indeed.

It was a Thursday. I will never forget that it was a Thursday. I came home from work and was standing in the kitchen making dinner and I looked at my husband of 18 years and said “I feel so blessed, I am just waiting for the other shoe to fall”. Because that is how it had always been. One step forward, two steps back. Can’t win for losing. When my ship came in, I was always at the airport. Two hours later, I found it.
I was taking my nightly bath when I found a lump in my right breast. Of course the fact that my sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer three years earlier only made matters worse. But I was on 39, so I probably shouldn’t have panicked, but I did anyway.

Working in ultrasound sure had its advantages. I went to work the next day and scanned myself. Sure didn’t look normal. I showed one of the other girls my images and she said I needed a mammogram. No problem, my OB is in the same hospital. Quick trip down a corridor or two and I was back with the order. Mammograms hurt like hell, but it was done and the radiologist was reading it before I was even dressed. He said I needed to have a real ultrasound, not one that I did myself, standing up. One of the girls volunteered and the show went on. Until she said that the radiologist was going to want to scan me. She was right, he was in in a flash and not very happy with what he saw. He said I needed a biopsy and he could do it then. So things were moving right along, numb me up, stick the needle in a couple of times, ice pack for the bruising, go home and try to relax. Man it was going to be a long weekend.

Monday morning came way to slow, but I was out the door in record time. The radiologist that had done my biopsy wasn’t in and because of HIPPA laws I couldn’t get into my own records. I grabbed the first radiologist that I ran into in the department. He was younger than me, by maybe 10 years, but whatever. I explained to him that I was new in the department and that I had had a biopsy on Friday, could he help me out and see if the pathology report was back yet?? “Sure, sure I can. No problem honey.” He sat down behind his computer in his dark office and asked me my name. He typed it in and a document came up on the screen, I didn’t even see whose name was on it. My eyes only saw 3 words, “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.” I just remember frantically searching for my name, I couldn’t find my name, and all I could say was “is that me, is that me?” “I’m so sorry honey, here sit down. I’m so sorry, you are so young.” He said other things to me I’m sure, but I don’t remember them. I talked to the appropriate people; the people who told me to take the rest of the day off. Go be with your family, take all the time you need, type people.

I don’t remember the drive home, but regardless, I made it there. I found my husband waiting for me in the garage. That was the moment that my life swerved off course and it became clear from the look in his eyes that none of this was a dream. It was all true. I had cancer. I had the pink ribbon cancer. Breast cancer. My 16 year old son came to the door and with tears in eyes that never cry, he said “is it treatable Mom?” That’s a wake-up call isn’t it? When our teenage sons worry about US, something is really wrong.

Over the next couple of days I saw 2 different surgeons. The first suggested that I have a complete mastectomy. Both breasts, bye girls, it’s been nice knowing ya. My age, my family history, it all said both breasts needed to go. The next surgeon, my reconstructionist, had the pleasure of telling me about the agony I would be experiencing for the next several months. As soon as my breasts were removed, he would put my “tissue expanders” under my pectoralis muscles and gradually, over time, they would fill them with saline in order to stretch the muscle and skin. I forgot how to breathe again. Then he started measuring me and made the comment “your breasts sure have gone south”, oh sorry I guess I hadn’t noticed. It’s not like I had to move them before I tied my shoes. Sheesh give a girl a break, 3 kids buddy, 3 kids.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:05 PM
I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. Or course, all I had to do was show up. I didn’t have a part in the surgery other than laying unconscious on a table for some guys to carve me up. And they did.

I woke up to a different body with different sensations, or a lack of sensations as the case may be. I woke up to being a different person, I just didn’t know it yet. I remember thinking before the surgery that I would still be the same person; I would still be a woman, and a mother. I would still be a strong person. Yeah, okay.

Speaking from a woman’s perspective I can say that I have read countless stories from breast cancer survivors. Even before I was diagnosed I saw them everywhere. Stories of inspiration, the likes of which could be compared to Mother Theresa’s life story. Hmmm, I sure wasn’t experiencing any of that as I looked at myself in the mirror and tried to remember when I had ever seen a human being without nipples. Everybody has nipples. Babies are born with nipples. Old people have nipples. Damn, even dogs and cats have nipples. I don’t have nipples anymore. What a strange revelation. Like I thought they could remove my breasts and I would get to keep them. Oh wait, people really do think that. People have actually said to me “just think when it’s all over, you will have a really nice rack.” Really? Really? I have scars that go from my sternum to my underarm on both of my “breasts”. I have no nipples and the prospect of having them “built” doesn’t sound like that much fun. Most of the time that surgery is considered unsuccessful. Yeah, please sign me up. Of course I could get the tattoos. Tattooed nipples, beautiful.

So I’m not going to be featured in a magazine with an inspirational little snippet about the joys of breast cancer. I guess I am just a pessimist or maybe I am a realist. I don’t wake up in the morning to rainbows and pink ribbons, I wake up to reality and sometimes it’s a real bitch. But I am thankful that I wake up, none-the-less.
I think the media glorifies breast cancer. Every article that I have read, every book that I was given by my doctors, they all make it seem like when it’s over I’m going to come out on the other side of this and win a Nobel Peace Prize. Like this is going to transform me into some kind of Medical Martha Stewart who is on a rampage to make the world a better place. No thanks, all I really wanted to hear someone say is what I have been feeling all along; breast cancer sucks!!

I lost my job. My recovery took longer than anticipated due to some complications”. 6 weeks, 6 weeks is the typical recovery time after having your breasts removed. They have GOT to be kidding me. Okay, they weren’t kidding. I’m going to focus on me, on healing and coming to terms with this new reality and then I am going to find another job. A better job.

It has been 7 months, I still do not have my permanent breast implants and I still do not have a job. What I have are bills piled to the ceiling, student loans that are late and a major self esteem problem. I have a husband that loves me, even in my deformed alien state. I have 3 children that are the light of my life, they are my pink ribbons.

I also have a renewed sense of self. I am no stronger than any other woman in the world. We are all fighters when we have to be.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:14 PM
I'm terribly sorry about your diagnosis and I pray you get better. Had responded before you completed your post, apologies.
edit on 14-1-2012 by Chai_An because: Posted a response before OP completed her post

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:16 PM
reply to post by newsoul

sorry to hear about your painful loss, I hope it gives birth to a new way of living. Many dont have a loving husband, so remember when you are truly beautiful it always shines through, even the scars,
have you seen the movie the island, you may find it helpful in some way. just a sugestion.
best ancientthunder

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:19 PM
So where are the conspiracies, cover-ups and scandals that are related to big pharma corruption and government involvement in manipulating health care?

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:20 PM
dog-speed moving forward. my mother just went through this too.
although she hinted a little excitement getting implants as she said she was happy to have 30 year old breast again. (she's 74)

take it stride my friend, don't let the bills get you down. sad that there aren't government programs to help post surgery victims in need.
crossing fingers for your speedy recovery both ink health and finances.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:23 PM
I applaud you for your courage to write what you did. If you've never been through something like that, it is easy to believe all the "pink ribbon" feel-good drivel they feed us through the media. Yes it is a type of mutilation. You have to get used to a whole new body image, and so does your husband.

It broke my heart to read that you went through all that deprivation and sacrifice to go to school, only to have your earned success pulled out from you like a rug, leaving you with no job and what must be a pile up to your ceiling of medical bills.

It is said that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps your reason is to assist others once you get a job again, because there is nothing like having gone through something frightening and horrific, and coming out the other side stronger, tougher and more determined, to turn somebody into a hell of a fierce advocate for others embarking on the same harrowing journey. Believe it. The finest swords have to go through the hottest fires. The transformation process is painful, but the end result is breathtaking.

I wish you and your family all the best.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:24 PM

Just my input...

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

I never thought that I would get a single response to my post. I am speechless and so overwhelmed. Your words imparticular are so heartwarming. Thank you.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:53 PM
I am having a lumpectomy on Teusday. I went through 18 rounds of chemo which sucked royally. Thank you for sharing your story. You have a loving family by your side and that is the most important thing.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 09:58 PM
reply to post by newsoul

You're most welcome. I have a special place in my heart for people who go through tragedies, because there have been plenty in my own life, including the loss of my health through rheumatoid arthritis, the deformation of my fingers....all kinds of things can and have gone wrong in my life, including murders of close loved ones and being wrongly institutionalized.. There were times when I just wanted to end it all, but I always kept that analogy in my mind for the sword having to go through the fires and the poundings to become the strongest steel on earth.

I went into social work and I was indeed a fierce advocate for others needing my help. I called on my own experience to reach these people who were literally drowning in life's tragedies, and it was then that I understood why I had to go through all the crap I did, and why I continue to suffer with a disease which is leaving lesions in my lungs, brain and other places.

Your experience and survival means you have soooo much to give to others, and it will be rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. It will touch your heart and expand your soul exponentially. What you have lost physically, you will more than gain spiritually, so chin up!

We are a supportive lot here on ATS. Anytime you need to vent, we are here to support you!

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by Night Star

I love your signature.....and best of luck to you on Tuesday. I go back to my reconstructionist Tuesday as well, we will see what he says. Maybe, just maybe I will be scheduled for my next surgery.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:16 PM
reply to post by FissionSurplus

It sounds as though you have been through more than your fair share of heartaches and hard times. Your words ring with wisdom and the confidence of someone who speaks from experience. I really appreciate your thoughtful response. And just so you know, my life path number is also a 9

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:22 PM
reply to post by newsoul

This took courage and want to thank you for sharing. While not a cancer survivor myself, have been through the struggles with family and friends.

reply to post by Missing Blue Sky

Originally posted by Missing Blue Sky
So where are the conspiracies, cover-ups and scandals that are related to big pharma corruption and government involvement in manipulating health care?

Re-read her story. You will see that it is explained that survivor stories, found in Drs. office magazines and Drs. websites, are always happy...cheery with great outcomes telling the reader into life will go on as always. One might say that is a conspiracy within itself propagated by health care. That is not always the case with survivor stories, she well illustrates that.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:25 PM
reply to post by dreamingawake

You totally get me.....thank you for reading my story and understanding where my frustrations lie.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:27 PM
just dont give up on you, from the sounds of it, you are naturally strong, if cancer can take away things precious to you, you need to take away the thing that gives cancer its vice on the ones you love, be strong.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:30 PM
Too bad. Most so-called breast cancers recede by themselves but treatment is big business and is enforced without need, with horrible consequences for the unaware.

The scam that's been working in cancer for decades now is called the "early detection" scheme. Basically you "early detect" a disease that the patient has not developed yet (and in reality probably never will,) and then you put him on treatment. Then when he doesn't die from a disease he was never going to have in the first place, this "proves" that early detection and treatment "saves lives". In reality irreversible damage is been inflicted upon healthy people for the sake of profit and nothing more.

posted on Jan, 14 2012 @ 10:58 PM
reply to post by Brasov

Oh, so now you tell me.

posted on Jan, 15 2012 @ 05:13 AM
Bless you and thank you for sharing.

I found a lump in my right breast 3 years ago in January. It was hard like a pea. Went in and had a sonogram then biopsy. I was terrified, but I knew in my mind that there was no way I would go through chemo, after watching it kill my dad and auntie. I resigned myself to do alternatives, and if that didn't work then I'd let God have me.

I did some major crazy research and I went to a medicine woman in New Mexico. She did some energy work on me, but told me it was out of her reach. She told me to start taking flax oil by the tablespoon, drink nothing but purified water by the gallon with a drop of Hydrogen peroxide in each glass.

I went home thinking I'm not going to make it, but I kept doing as the woman told me to do. Within two weeks the lump began to grow smaller. And by the fourth week it was to the size of a grain of rice. Went back to IHS (Indian health services) for another consult, as I was diagnosed with malignancy. They wanted to run more tests. Doctor was in total shock to see that shrank down to barely nothing.

I kept up the treatment and loaded my plates with vegetables and fruit.

Happy to say that I'm cancer free. NOW, I'm NOT saying that this is the road others should take. This is not the way for you, then don't go that way. Western medicine has it's place..... but as I said after watching two family members die from chemo I decided I did not want to go that way.

Bless you all.

posted on Jan, 15 2012 @ 05:25 AM
Too bad you didn't see this first
There are multiple ways to cure cancer. All rely on natural sources. [snip], veg-fruit juice, i've heard a lot of different cases. many of them can be found online. This one is Gerson Therapy.

edit on Sun Jan 15 2012 by DontTreadOnMe because: Just to clarify...

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