I have said this numerous times before, “My family history with cancer is extensive,” especially breast cancer. When I was diagnosed, that put a mark in the third generation category. My sister made that four people (technically five since I cannot forget my great-aunt who also had breast cancer in her fifties.)
What makes us say it’s extensive? It’s the number of occurrences that have crept up since the first diagnosis. My grandmother was 51 at her first diagnosis, then diagnosed at 58, and again at 62. She has had all three types of breast cancer: lobular, ductal, and inflammatory. My mother and I have had both lobular and ductal carcinomas growing in our breasts while my sister has only experienced lobular. Either way you look at it, that’s a lot of breast cancer between four women.
While sitting in the waiting area during my sister’s bi-lateral mastectomy surgery, my mom received a phone call we were expecting. Her mother, our grandmother, had cancer yet again at the age of 82. This new diagnosis marks her fourth bout of breast cancer. She was diagnosed with both ductal and lobular carcinoma in her one breast she had left. Due to her age and health conditions, the only option available to her was to remove her breast. This came as a sigh of relief since we finally knew the answer to the question we had asked a week prior for her biopsy – even if we already suspected the results. This all seemed twice as difficult to digest as my sister was lying on an operating table removing her own breasts due to cancer.
We were hit with a double whammy that day. A day that has been ingrained in my memory ever since. The worry for not just my sister, but now my grandmother intensified.
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