Sunday, May 11, 2008


Brandi asked me to re-tell the story of how I found my cancer and I realized that I'd never posted it here. I think it was finally emailed out after about 40 awful face-to-faces and phone calls. Gosh, I hated that part. Anyway, now, it's pretty amazing. So here it is.

My mom had breast cancer when she was in her early 40s. My father's mom had breast cancer twice, maybe 30 years apart. Both survivors and without whom nothing, let alone my health today, would have been possible. So needless to say I was on the alert from an early age. I did the self-exams. Somewhere along the line it was decided that I should start my (absolutely indicated early) mammograms at (the utterly arbitrary age of) 30. Off I went to visit my new primary this January and gave her my history and plan. She disagreed on the age I should start and told me to wait 5 years.

I didn't.

I called my husband and told him I was uncomfortable. He told a colleague of his, Dr. So. We went in together for a chat with him and he set up my mammogram. My tech was very nice and I knew when she popped her head in and said she wanted more images that something was off. She popped her head back in and asked if I wanted my husband. Yeah. So quite a few painful images later we were in the radiologists office, with the door open, and no chairs, hearing about micro-calcifications and that it looked not-good.

Then came the MRI, which told us it wasn't anywhere but my right breast but that it was not small. 4x8 cm. Then the biopsy, which told us it was DCIS. I never felt anything, not even when I knew exactly where it was. We found out after the surgery that I couldn't have, because it was multi-focal. I wouldn't have been able to feel a lump until who knows how many of those suckers had gotten completely out of hand, which is exactly why I decided to have both breasts removed now.

And on that note, I'm off to whip up some fruit salad for our Mother's Day picnic. Extra-Happily, because I can.


mjojieb said...

Hey Jess,

I just got caught up on your blog...I hadn't checked it in a while. I miss all of you. Was so nice to be able to spend time with your mom and get to see the rest of the family too.

I heard that the Mothers's Day picnic was really nice.....except for a couple of forgotten purses! Sure was a test of patience for your dad....

Glad you only have a couple more treatments of radiation. Hang in there, I'm praying for you.

Aunt Jojie

Brandi said...

Thanks for posting the story. Sorry to make you relive it!

I have a bad family history too. I've been stalling on making my appointment, but I guess I'd better go on and do it.

Glad you're doing well.

kelley said...

Hey Jess, I just caught up on your awesome blog today. I'm so excited for you to be done (this week??) with your radiation treatments. That's one big step out of the way. Yay! You're such an amazing woman. Can't wait to hang out with you and Mark one of these's been too long. :)