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26 Year Survivor.

It was 1992, as soon as I touched the lump in my breast, I knew it would not be good news. I was young and healthy, but my inner voice would not be silenced.

It was several days before my doctor could see me, because it didn't seem urgent. Women just don't get breast cancer at 26, right? After an exam, my doctor sent me to a surgeon. Again, "women just don't get breast cancer at 26". After his exam, he sent me for an ultrasound.

On the day of the ultrasound, I got quite a few "looks" in the waiting room. Every woman there was at least twice my age! I was finally called into a room.

I accidentally found it. I was lying on the bed and during a stretch, I pulled my hand up, between my breasts. That's when I touched a lump.

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During the procedure, one technician became two, then three, and before it was over, there were six people in the room with me, all staring at the screen, asking the same questions, and none of them "seeing" me on the exam table, bare breasted, crying, and completely terrified.

I went back to the surgeon and we scheduled the biopsy as an outpatient procedure a few days later. Before I could even get dressed, he told me I had breast cancer. Luckily, it was "in situ" (non-invasive), but the doctors threw everything they had at it. I had a lumpectomy that included removing 18 lymph nodes (all negative). I had radiation, chemo, five years of Tamoxifen, and an oophorectomy, because it turned out my cancer was estrogen positive. I went through menopause at 26/27; I was miserable!

In 1998, I had a suspicious pap smear and that lead to a complete hysterectomy. There was no cancer, it was merely a precaution.

Dancing with my son at his wedding