I was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago on the weekend of my 53rd birthday. One of my aunts had breast cancer, so I started getting mammograms
at the age of 35. Everything was fine until my husband put his arm around
me one day and felt something hard in one of my breasts. I wasn’t
overly concerned because all of my previous mammograms were normal. I
went in for a mammogram and ultrasound, but nothing showed up. After that,
I had an MRI which showed the cancer—lobular carcinoma, a type of
cancer that is very hard to detect through mammography.
Ultimately, I made the decision to have a double mastectomy. I am glad
I did because cancer was found in both breasts. My treatment consisted
of chemotherapy and radiation, and I had a DIEP reconstruction which is
a very long, difficult surgery. I was fortunate because one of my cousins
had been diagnosed around the same time I was and went through the same
surgical procedures before I did. She was able to help prepare and support
me during that time.
I started attending Jupiter Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Support
Group as soon as I was diagnosed. It was very helpful to meet women who
were long-term survivors; it gave me hope. I continue to attend the group
so that I can help other women.
My message for other women:
Do breast self-exams because the type of cancer I had is rarely picked
up on mammograms or ultrasounds. Be vigilant about your breast health.
Enjoy life, have hope and do everything you want to do so you have no
regrets. Give back. If you are diagnosed, join a support group. Have hope,
I was diagnosed with a stage 3 breast cancer. Ten years later, I am alive
and doing well, enjoying life, and as you can see from the design of my
chair, traveling at every opportunity!
Henri Bendel (The Garden's Mall)
3101 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410