Angela’s Corner: The What If’s
After I was told I had invasive breast cancer, I was in a state of shock and disbelief at times. At other times, I was extremely happy with the outcome. Am I happy I had cancer? Absolutely not! However, I would have never known cancer was growing in my body if I never went through with my mastectomies. Cancer, unfortunately, has been prominent in my life since I was a young child. Getting cancer was not a surprise to me, but having cancer in my early thirties was.
Starting the first month of my journey, the motto I lived by was, “It is what it is.” I am unable to change what happens to me, or what comes into my life. I can choose to let it happen, let it hinder me emotionally, or I can rise above it by accepting it, dealing with it, learning from it, and then moving on. From day one, I have chosen to accept my outcome and move forward.
It’s not often I find myself asking the “what if” questions. But, after my invasive cancer diagnosis, I asked a few. What if I had done radiation only? Would the tumor have shrank and disappeared? There would have been a chance it had, but the location of that tumor versus the DCIS I started with was on the opposite side of the breast. There’s also that chance that after radiation it would have come back with a vengeance. What if I hadn’t pushed for my mammogram? Well, we (my family and I) know that the tumor would have kept developing and growing year after year until, quite possibly, it would have been too late. If I had waited until the age of forty, like the radiologists had told me, I would have been living with cancer for seven years. In the end, the “what if” questions are simply that — just questions. My life followed a different path because I was proactive in my care. I was not going to let someone else dictate my course of treatment if I didn’t agree, or back down from my beliefs, just because they had more education and/or a doctors degree.
Telling my family my recent news and diagnosis came with a huge sigh of relief. Standing my ground and choosing bi-lateral mastectomies proved to be the best course for me. We were all pleased with the knowledge that doing what I felt was right ultimately saved my life.
I have felt God’s hand in my breast cancer journey since the day I felt added pressure on my shoulder and heard, “do the mammogram.” He was guiding me through the course of treatments because he had a plan for me. Now was the time to start figuring out what that plan was. I figured if I’m here for a reason, it was to tell my story, to encourage others to get their mammograms, and to quite possibly save another person’s life.
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