For me, I cannot be more thankful for pushing for my mammograms at a young age because it eventually saved me from a more extensive road to recovery. Since I had my mammograms and other imaging tests, I found my cancer early enough.
Now to be fair, I found my DCIS early. In fact, it was still in the pre-cancer stage, but it had the ability to invade at any time. It could have invaded the next day or months later. I was not as lucky with my lobular cancer as it went undetected. The only reason it was discovered was because I had a bi-lateral mastectomy and the removed tissue was then biopsied.
While talking to my husband about this article, he reminded me how I often feel about my cancer. My cancers were caught early enough – in the pre-cancer and Stage 1 levels. This was all due to early detection, being my own advocate, and being pro-active in my health care. Since early detection was the key, and my mastectomies played a huge role in my treatment plans, I now only need to take Tamoxifen. Thankfully, chemotherapy and radiation therapy were not needed. This at times leads me to believe I am not a cancer survivor – even if I have every right to call myself one. I did not have to go through more extensive treatments like my grandmother, my mom, and my sister. It provides me with what one might call survivor guilt.
I can live with the survivor guilt I feel because I know it was all due to early detection. Early detection is crucial for minimal treatment and increased survival rates. I’m thankful my cancers were detected early enough. I’m thankful that because of the early detection, I was able to recover quickly. I’m thankful that I’m here to be the wife, mother, daughter, and friend I was meant to be all because of finding my cancers in the earliest possible stages.
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