My journey began in July 2009 with a spot on my mammogram. It was a month after my 36thbirthday.
After the testing and the stereotactic breast biopsy that confirmed my breast cancer, it was my lumpectomy that set my diagnoses on Sept. 11, 2009. After surgery, I endured 33 radiation treatments, one a day every Monday through Friday for six weeks. I’m currently on my 4th year of Tamoxifen, an oral chemo hormone pill taken for five years.
My paternal grandmother had breast cancer twice and she was the reason why I’ve always requested mammograms and testing. Because I was 36 years young at the time of my diagnosis, I was not of age to be screened for a routine mammogram. But because I have a family history of breast cancer, I’ve always pushed my physicians for testing anyway.
When I received my ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer diagnosis, I wasn’t sure how to cope and handle my situation. I cried for 24 hours because I was in Georgia and my mom was home in Connecticut — an 18-hour-drive away. My days became easier when a best friend helped me realize she was going through my diagnosis with me. I didn’t believe my diagnosis and to this very day, I still don’t believe it. I feel like I’m going through the motions of ‘the standard of care’ when it comes to my diagnosis. One thing I do believe and know for sure is I’m blessed and protected from all hurt, harm and danger. Because of my faith, I can make it one day at a time. Without a test there is no testimony.
Remember these four things:
—Self-breast examinations are important
—Be your own health advocate
—Don’t just listen to your body – follow up with your physician
—Worry is meditation in the wrong direction
Read more about Terena Richardson battle with breast cancer at BlackDoctor.Org.
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(Photo: Courtesy of Terena Richardson via http://blackdoctor.org)