I was co-leading a mission trip in Dominican Republic, when for some crazy reason I did a self breast exam while lying in bed one morning and felt a small lump. It felt unusual, I’d get it checked when I returned and tried not to think about it the rest of the trip.
Thankfully, I qualified for the “Executive Physical” (EP) program at the Mayo Clinic. I figured being 45 was as good a time as any to get a baseline on some health unknowns (I don’t know my natural father's health history). While there for every test imaginable, I mentioned the lump I'd found a month earlier. “Thankfully,” I found out I had a very clean bill of health in every regard - even the mammogram came back clear.
I had a breast consult to discuss the results, I was not too worried because the mammogram was clear. I even asked if I really needed to head down there again but they strongly encouraged me to go. I’m glad I did! After a physical examination of the lump, an ultrasound, another mammogram, I was told I needed a biopsy. My "stop-in" appointment turned into an afternoon at Mayo and I drove home that night rather stunned.
I was on the road toward home again after another apointment having had 6 needle biopsies taken on one very sore breast. A few days later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Flash forward, after 1.5 years of chemo, surgery and reconstruction, I am still here and very thankful! I thank God, my friends and family, Hope Chest, as well as a myriad of other resources for helping me get through this. I consider myself a survivor and blessed for every day!