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National Spotlight

Financial Resources —Did you know that there are many financial resources that can help people living with breast cancer? Find out more

Megans Story

Survivor Stories

Megan’s Survival Story

“Listen to Your Inner Voice”

 

I was just going for a routine annual physical. But my appointment turned out to be anything but routine. My doctor scheduled a mammogram because of concerns about a lump she discovered in my right breast. The good news was that that lump wasn’t cancerous. The bad news? They found something in my left breast. Then I got the dreaded call. I needed to come in as soon as possible and, I’ll always remember this … she said, “bring someone along with you.”

My mammogram showed that my left breast had two calcifications. I didn’t know what that meant, but my oncologist explained that calcifications are our body’s way of putting a protective coating around potentially cancerous cells. Right away we talked about treatment options which were a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. My mother died from breast cancer when I was 35, but I still didn’t feel like I knew anything about what cancer was or the best treatments. And in 1999, when I was diagnosed, there weren’t any resources like we have now. Back then, you just did what the doctor told you.

The urgency of it all was so frightening. I ultimately chose to have a lumpectomy which, at that time, was considered the newest treatment option. I felt like I had to test it out for my daughter and granddaughter. The doctor also encouraged me to have a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy, and I think it was the right thing to do. When they removed the lumps, they took cells from the surrounding “margin.” As it turned out, those cells were cancerous too. Overall they had to go into the margin two more times before they found non-cancerous cells.

Today I am an 11-year survivor. During the first five years I had a mammogram every 3 months. Now it’s every 6. But living as a survivor is about more than mammograms. It’s about looking forward and not second guessing my past decisions. It’s about sharing my story, which gives me a feeling of control in this whole process that I never had when going through it. It’s also about helping others. I’m part of a Komen “co-survivor” program where you have the opportunity to work one-on-one with someone battling cancer. They give me a purpose while I offer them strength, hope and advice. I always tell them: use the Komen website, take time to find the right doctors, be around positive people, and always listen to your inner voice.