Southtowns Radiology Breast Cancer Survivor Series – Lisa’s Story
“This is kind of weird.”
That’s what Lisa C. said to her husband, after finding a lump in her right breast while showering. She wasn’t overly alarmed; her last mammogram was clear, and she performed regular self-examinations.
But her intuition told her to go get it checked immediately.
And she’s so glad she did.
Just a few days later, Lisa was examined by her OB/GYN, who scheduled a mammogram and sonogram at Southtowns Radiology for the following day. Based on the findings, her doctor ordered a biopsy. “The procedure wasn’t painful at all,” said Lisa. “And at that point, we were all hoping the lump was just a cyst. I do have a history of breast cancer in my family, but I still didn’t think it could happen to me.”
At 3:50 on Friday, July 8th, the call came: Lisa had invasive ductal carcinoma, and she knew immediately that her life would never be the same. “I had just gotten home from work when I received my diagnosis, and I was in a mixed state of disbelief and terror,” she said. “A million questions flooded into my head. I thought, ‘How could this be happening to me? What have I done that was so bad that I deserve this? What is my son going to do without a mother?'”
After she shared the news with her husband and her initial panic subsided, Lisa knew she had to steel herself for an incredibly difficult journey. She reassured herself by recalling how her mom, aunt and cousin had survived breast cancer. “If they could do it, I knew that I could, too,” she thought. “For me, there was no ‘Option B’; I just couldn’t give up, because I had family depending on me.”
Lisa needed a second biopsy, to rule out the possibility of lymph node involvement. “It was pretty scary, but the staff at Southtowns took great care of me,” she stated. “They never let me walk out of there questioning; they were proactive with my care and did whatever was needed to make sure I had the information to feel confident with my diagnosis, prognosis and treatment regimen.”
Thankfully, she received good news that her cancer had not spread. Subsequent testing confirmed that she did not carry the breast cancer gene, which meant that she would not undergo a bilateral mastectomy. With that reassurance, she was prepared to begin her treatment: a lumpectomy with sentinel node removal, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
Lisa’s surgery was successful, and she’s just beginning her chemo regimen: four rounds of Adriamycin with Cytoxan, followed by 12 weekly Taxol infusions. All told, she’ll undergo five months of treatment.
When asked what advice she’d give to other women about breast cancer or screening, Lisa was adamant. “Be your own advocate,” she stated. “Check yourself in the shower regularly; lathering up really does make self-examination easier.
“Always listen to your body and mind,” she continued. “As a woman, you have the ability to know what’s going on with your body. If anything seems out of the ordinary, go for that extra mammogram or biopsy. I’m so glad that I went with my women’s intuition.”