Adrienne's Breast Cancer Blogimony (Part I): She didn't let FEAR stop her from living!

Each year, hundreds of thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. They come from all walks of life and educational and economic backgrounds. They represent all races, shades, and ages. They are different shapes and sizes. They may have been marathoners or maybe just couch potatoes. Some have family histories of breast cancer...but most do not.

Breast cancer doesn't discriminate.

This week's blog is a two part series...a personal testimony...a blogimony of one of the most genuine and loving people that I know, my sorority sister, Adrienne. I remember the day that I learned of her diagnosis. I was already working in cancer, so I was worried about her. A diagnosis of breast cancer at such a young age did not always have a great outcome. At best the treatment would be difficult and aggressive...especially if it wasn't caught early. I am so happy to see Adrienne healthy and happy and whole and I am truly honored to share her story with you.
 
Adrienne is a mother, wife, daughter, sister, educator, and breast cancer survivor. Her story is one of strength and faith. I pray that it blesses you all and I thank her for sharing it with us. 

Adrienne's story...
I lost both my grandmothers to inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). This type of breast cancer is almost impossible to detect early because it doesn't form a lump. However, there are other symptoms besides feeling a lump in your breast, such as changes in the appearance of one breast over a short period of time, unusual warmth of the affected breast, or flattening or turning inward of the nipple, etc. One grandmother, who lost her battle with breast cancer in the mid-1970's, allowed doctors to conduct tests and research on her so she could help other women facing the disease. Her willingness to participate in these studies may have helped to save my life thirty years later.  My other grandmother felt something unusual...a lump underneath her arm, but waited a few months before going to the doctor because she was afraid. I lived in fear of "inheriting" breast cancer just because both my grandmothers died from it. I also had three other family members who had breast cancer diagnoses.

I routinely checked my breasts, even though I wasn't really sure what I was feeling for. But I knew my body and believed that I would be able to tell if something either didn't feel right or was different than before. I actually felt a lump in my breast a few years before my diagnosis and immediately went to get it checked out. You didn't have to tell me twice to seek medical care. Fortunately, my test results were negative.
 
Yes, it is scary when you find a lump in your breast, but you can't let fear stop you from getting it checked out. Doctors and technology were put on earth by God to help us heal when we are sick.

I found the second lump in my breast in 2007, right before the school year began. I was 33 years old. I went to see my doctor for an exam. She knew my family history of breast cancer and felt that I needed to get a mammogram. My mammogram results were inconclusive, so my doctor sent me to M.D. Anderson in Houston TX, for a second opinion. It was frightening to think my doctor felt my mammogram results were serious enough to send me to Houston for a second opinion, but I followed her advice and went to this appointment. I needed to know if this was breast cancer or not. It was scary to sit in the waiting room, the doctor's office, and the exam rooms surrounded by breast cancer patients. There were women of all cultures, races, and ages there. They had all stages of the disease. But I was empowered by the fact that I was being proactive about my health and knowing that I had a lot to LIVE FOR.

After getting a second mammogram and ultrasound at M.D. Anderson, I needed to have a biopsy. I had no idea what a 'biopsy' was, but my doctor's felt that it was necessary. The biopsy would have gone smoother had they not shown me the pictures of the procedure before hand. I was terrified. They actually had to call in my mother and husband to calm me down because I was about to chicken out of the procedure. I regained my composure and remembered that my God had not given me the spirit of fear. I prayed and sang in my head during the procedure. I had a lot of support through it. Jesus was in the room with me the entire time. Five days later, I was in my brother's wedding. And I was waiting for my results...

Check out Thursday's blog from drtemeika.com to read the rest of Adrienne's story of her diagnosis and treatment and blessed life! It will encourage and inspire you.




Remember, you do need to tell your doctor if your family has a history of breast cancer so they will take you seriously despite your age. ~Adrienne






Love you much, 


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