My name is Mary Jane MacVicar and this is my testimony of my bout with breast cancer.
I was sitting having breakfast one Saturday morning when I felt a sharp pain in my right breast. Upon examination, I felt a lump about the size of a golf ball. The following Monday, I went to see my Dr. and when she examined me, she said she was sure that it was just a cyst but would send me for an ultrasound just to be sure.
I was very fortunate to have such a caring Dr. because she put all wheels in motion immediately. The following Monday, I was having an ultrasound. The next day, I was in Windsor having a mammogram. Thursday, I was in seeing the surgeon and on Friday, he scheduled me for a core biopsy.
When I did get the news that I did indeed have breast cancer, I was somewhat devastated but I was not totally surprised because I was trying to prepare myself in advance for this diagnosis. I was then scheduled two weeks later for a partial mastectomy and lymph node dissection. Well, there was nothing that was going to keep me down and two weeks after my surgery, I was off on a holiday cruise!
When I did go into see the surgeon for the final results, I was told that my breast was totally clear but of the 19 lymph nodes that were removed, 2 were positive and one of them was even bigger than the original lump in my breast.
I was then sent to see Dr. Caroline Hamm, the Oncologist at the Windsor Cancer Centre to arrange my course of treatment. I had 6 months of chemotherapy and 3-1/2 weeks of radiation and I was extremely fortunate that I was not sick at all and did not lose my hair and I breezed through all my treatments.
When I look back on this period of my life, at the beginning, it seemed like it would last forever but now, I find it hard to believe that the time went by so fast, especially the past 4-1/2 years.
In the beginning, it is really hard to say “I have breast cancer” and you cry every time you say it. But I honestly think that the more you talk about it, the easier it is to deal with. There will be times when you don’t want to talk about or think about it but trust me, it gets easier.
If you’re scared, confused and lonely, welcome to the club. You and everyone else who has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer or any cancer as far as that goes, has felt much the same way. To help yourself get better, find a support group. Sharing your story with others who have traveled the same road is a sure way of fighting loneliness.
One day, you will feel on top of the world-the next day, you will feel like you have been locked in a spin dryer for an hour! Millions have survived cancer and so can you. Millions of people in the world today can look back on the day that they ONCE HAD CANCER!.
Something else which is very important that assists us in our recovery- we tend to forget our sense of humor. Cancer won’t give anyone a sense of humor if they don’t have it but a sense of humor can sure get you through the experience.
Once again, this October I will be participating in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure in a team called ‘The Pink Tomatoes’. This will be my 5th year and God willing, I will be able to do this Run for many more years to come.
Thank you for letting me share my experience with you.