I was driving in the car with my mother one summer afternoon and she noticed a visibly large lump in my chest at the top of my right breast, “ what is that?” she asked. “ oh nothing” I replied, “I’ve been meaning to go and get it checked out, but I haven’t had time.”
My 45th Birthday Surprise
I was driving in the car with my mother one summer afternoon and she noticed a visibly large lump in my chest at the top of my right breast, “ what is that?” she asked. “ oh nothing” I replied, “I’ve been meaning to go and get it checked out, but I haven’t had time.” I have always had very fiber cystic breasts and I naturally assumed it was just that. She asked me when was the last time I had a mammogram (A mammogram? OUCH!) Hmm, It’s been a while (In fact, it had been 3 years). I told her I would call later. She put the phone in my hand and said “ Call now!” That call saved my life.
I had a mammogram immediately followed by an ultrasound which resulted in a biopsy that was positive for breast cancer. The following week I had a lumpectomy and a sentinel node biopsy which thankfully (the lymph nodes) was negative. After surgery recovery I began a “ dense dose” radiation treatment which was 32 doses in 16 weeks, a first for Pensacola I am proud to say. I felt like I needed to do something to remind women out there how important it is to have your yearly mammogram so I did an episode of WEAR TV 3 Buddy Check with my friend Katherine Daniels about breast cancer radiation treatments and actually showed viewers the radiation process with Dr. Gerald Lowery.
Radiation treatment was exhausting. Every day for 16 days straight, it really wears your body down. When I completed that treatment I took 10 days off and relaxed on a cruise to Mexico with a group of my closest friends, then I started chemo therapy, and did another interview with Channel 3. This time we walked viewers thru an actual Chemotherapy session with my team at Sacred Heart Cancer Center MD Anderson. I did 8 rounds of Chemo, I got sicker than I ever thought was humanly possible, (wound up in the hospital twice because I pushed myself to hard) my hair fell out, my gums bled and swelled up, my feet hurt, in fact every bone in my body hurt, BUT- I AM ALIVE!!! Almost 8 years later I am happy to report I have a clean bill of health – 100% cancer free. I was so fortunate to have amazing family and friends that supported me, but I know not everyone is that lucky. Being a YAYA means so much to me because of their mission to help women. I hope you understand that you are never alone, that you are stronger than you think, and that there is hope.
I wish you all the best on your journey. Sondra