I am proud to say that I am a survivor of breast cancer. The years since I discovered I had cancer have, in many ways, been the best part of my life.
My journey began when I signed up to play in a golf tournament for the benefit of the Breast Cancer Foundation when, ironically, I discovered a lump in one of my breasts. At the time I was more concerned with the tournament than the lump and I decided to only monitor it for any changes. Much to my chagrin, I noticed it was steadily growing. A friend suggested that I see a doctor. I procrastinated in doing so, prompting my concerned friend to call and make the appointment for me. Looking back now I probably would not have made it to the doctor if it weren't for the action of a friend who unknowingly played a key role in saving my life.
When I finally made it to a doctor, I was told the lump was unlikely to be cancer, but needed to be looked at nonetheless. My doctor reassured me that an "incisional biopsy" could be performed on an outpatient basis and that I would be able to return home that same day. I had the biopsy on a Friday and as I was recovering, still in a daze from the pain medication, I couldn't help but notice my doctor's furrowed brows as he asked me to return on Monday to go over the results. He went on to explain that I actually had two tumors, one masking the other. I was now faced with a double-threat, if you will, to my 46-year-old body.
Monday arrived and with it the realization of finally knowing the answer to a question that could literally affect the rest of my life. With much difficulty my doctor told me that the 3 centimeter tumor hidden behind the original benign tumor I had discovered was indeed cancer.
This was a powerful wake-up call for me, I knew immediately that I had to change my attitude or I would not survive. I never once accepted this as a death sentence, nor allowed that thought to enter my mind. Yet I knew my life would never be the same again.
Because I had "intraductal" and "invasive" breast cancer -- when the cancer cells invade into...