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Monday, May 23, 2011

Why I am walking week... Day 2 - My personal breast cancer scare

My story…

Just 1 short year after I lost a dear friend to breast cancer, a friend who was at the time my mother in law, I found a lump in my breast.  I was 23 years old.  I cannot describe that fear, so soon after watching a beautiful woman who was so full of life waste away and lose her battle with breast cancer.  After a few weeks of absolute denial, I decided to finally get it checked out.  But where could I turn?  I had no health insurance and no way to pay cash for a doctor’s office visit.  My husband and I both worked, but we didn’t make enough to afford coverage at that time for ourselves. So even though I knew it was not the appropriate place to get this checked out, I went to the ER.  I must give kudos to the doctor who saw me that day.  I apologized, and told him why I was there.  I cried, because I was so embarrassed to have to come to the ER for that, and because I was so scared.  He assured me it was ok and he understood.  He checked out the lump, and told me that of course I would need further testing, but that it felt to him like a benign type of cyst. He also kindly pointed me in the right direction – to the local health department – to get started down the right road.  I don’t remember his name or what he looked like, but wherever you are I thank you for your compassion for a scared girl that day.

I then was directed to a gynecologist, who also felt the lump and told me he thought it would probably turn out to be nothing.  I was directed to Sinai hospital then for my first mammogram.  Now THAT was fun…  The doctor/ tech there said it was to hard to read, since I was so young and my breast tissue was still so dense they couldn’t really tell much from it.  So I was then directed to a surgeon.

The surgeon explained once again that it was most likely a benign cyst, but…  I still needed a needle biopsy to tell for sure.  So that’s what he did.  The worst part was that I still had to wait a whole week for the results.  That was a VERY long week.  Luckily, my cyst was benign and small enough that the surgeon said I didn’t need any other treatment; I could just go on my merry way.  But I did need to cut back a little on the caffeine since that may or may not have caused the cyst…

So how was I able to get the care I needed without insurance and without a single medical bill??  I was able to due to grants from foundations like the Susan G. Komen foundation.  I want others who are in the same position I was to have the same care I was given.  I can’t pay for another woman’s medical treatment.  But I do have a voice.  And I do have 2 legs.  I CAN walk 60 miles again to help another woman get treatment, or to do my part to help find a cure so no one needs this kind of treatment… EVER. 

This is why I walk!!!

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