In October of 2011, I was diagnosed with a very rare type of breast cancer. I felt a lump about the size of a pea in the side of my breast in August and by October it was the size of a peanut. I knew I had to have it checked. It was diagnosed as invasive mucinous carcinoma of the breast, only 2-3 percent of the breast cancers were of this kind. It was not mixed with other cancers, just pure mucinous carcinoma.
I was scheduled to have a lumpectomy on December 21, 2011. The night before my surgery, on December 20th, I received a call from my dad’s doctor in New Jersey. My dad had died of a heart attack in the hospital. I thought I wouldn’t make it through this crushing news. I had lost my brother at the age of 52 of a heart attack, now my dad. My dad was my the last of my family…at least to me. I knew he would have wanted me to treat my cancer as soon as I could. His wife, my stepmother, had died of lung cancer a few years previously. He had told me he didn’t wish that on anyone and he hoped he didn’t die of cancer. So I went into surgery the following morning to slay my dragon.
I was advised to have radiation treatments after the surgery. I was told that since the cancer was considered “invasive” and not “in situ” that I should also have the radiation. Chemotherapy wasn’t a consideration for this type of cancer. The margins were clear on the biopsy, that should have been enough. Since my treatment many doctors are agreeing that radiation may not be necessary for this particular type of rare breast cancer, pure mucinous carcinoma. I wish I’d known then what I know now. But I cannot lament on what might have been. I must keep moving…one foot in front of the other and continue with my story.