We are all affected when someone we love is diagnosed with cancer. When my two best friends told me their devastating news, I wanted to help; I wanted them to know I was there for them with my love and support. Mostly, I felt very helpless!!!
After having a routine mammogram, three days later Judy was immediately scheduled for a sonogram and biopsy where she was told “the tissue did not look right.” Her next visits were to a radiologist, an oncologist and a surgeon where she was told the lump was cancerous, but it could be gotten with a lumpectomy.
Judy had read a book by a cancer survivor titled, ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. The author said, “Insist on an M.R.I.” Judy insisted, and the M.R.I. showed the need for a complete breast removal. Judy chose to have both breasts removed.
Judy has always been a highly positive and energetic person, but the following weeks were so difficult! She came home with 6 drains, seepage, and so, so much pain. When she was doing well enough, the reconstruction surgery began. There was an option to use muscle tissue from her back instead of the mesh where there was more chance of infection. Judy chose muscle, but she was in such extreme pain that she wondered if she had made the right choice. She also had nipple construction and the areola tattooed on. It was bloody, painful, and did not work.
In 2014, and after a horrendous year, Judy was finished with all surgery and reconstruction. She continued doctor visits, and taking medications for the next 5 years. This year she was able to discontinue the medication! Hurray!! She is still here and doing very well.
CORY, APRIL, 2016
Cory and her husband, Drew, decided to stop at Starbucks for a coffee on their way to L.A.’s City of Hope to visit with Drew’s sister who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Cory ordered her usual coffee; Decaf Americano, 4 pumps of mocha, 2 inches of steamed 2 % milk, and whipped cream! She sipped the coffee and ‘thought’, “They forgot the mocha.” She asked them to add mocha, but she knew a mistake had been made later because she was shaky, jittery, and couldn’t stop moving.
As Cory had already been diagnosed with Fibrocystic Breast Condition, she never drank caffeinated coffee. Her symptoms of caffeine use were hardening in her breasts, which felt heavy and uncomfortable. She was very uncomfortable, so in checking her breasts, she found a good sized lump.
Cory’s internist immediately sent her for a sonogram, mammogram, and a biopsy. The radiologist asked if she’d been in a car accident several years earlier. She had. The radiologist thought the lump had been trauma from the accident.
From the biopsy, Cory was told she had breast cancer, and she would need a lumpectomy. The surgeon found that the cancer had progressed to the lymph nodes. Therefore, she would need chemotherapy and, radiation.
Cory was extremely sick from these treatments, but she remained positive. She lost her hair, bought cute hats and scarves, and tried to find energy to be out and about with friends and family.
At the end of October, 2016, she was finished with her treatments, but spent another year with low energy levels, lots of medication, and endless visits to her doctor. She continues to tell us she has, “chemo-brain.” But, she is still here and doing very well.
I, being that friend to both of these wonderful, positive, and fun ladies, am just so thankful I have them in my life.