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early detection saved my life

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“Get your mammogram.”

“Don’t wait. That mammogram saved me,” asserts Wendi, a one year breast cancer survivor. “That mammogram” to which she refers was her very first, her baseline mammogram. Wendi does not fit the demographic of who the likely breast cancer victim is. Most often we think of women of more advanced years. It’s logical. First, there is the age factor; the older one is, the more time one has to contract various diseases. Then there is the hormone element of the equation. Lower levels of estrogen found in post-menopausal women increase chances of breast cancer. But Wendi had just celebrated her fortieth birthday and enjoyed good health. Menopause was years away. But cancer is an equal opportunity inflictor.

Early detection was the key to Wendi’s 99 percent cure rate.

The radiologist saw calcifications on her initial mammogram, called her in for a digital mammogram the next day. Two days later she had a needle biopsy that revealed the calcifications were cancerous.

Wendi faced the best possible challenge a cancer patient can. Given her stage zero status, she had numerous treatment options. She elected to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She is happy with that choice; doctors discovered calcifications in her other breast that could have developed into cancer in the future. She might not be so fortunate to catch it at stage zero the second time around.

Wendi says her good prognosis made it much easier for her and her husband to talk to their young family, ages 14, 9, and 6, about the cancer.

“We chose an honest approach. We did use the ‘cancer’ word,” she reveals. “We could almost promise them that mom was going to be okay. Not all women have that.”

She had a month long recovery from her surgery, and she is thankful for the support in helping with her children, tending to her needs, and keeping up her house. Her children, too, had to pitch in with the laundry, cooking, and cleaning during their summer break. Wendi chuckles at their discovery of just how much she does during the course of one day.

She learned a few things herself. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,”she maintains. “The little things that stress you out aren’t really all that big of a deal.” She owns that she used to be agitated by her children not picking up after themselves. But she has since gained new perspective, and she concedes that a messy house “just doesn’t matter.”


-end- metroMAGAZINE




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