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Breast Cancer Survivor

Debbie Wiechman

Having planned a family trip to Maui, and not wanting any bad news to affect our trip , I put off my annual mammogram for a month. For some reason I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to like the results. When I was called in for a repeat mammogram and then a biopsy, I wasn’t surprised to hear that the biopsy result was positive. It was a small tumor and close to my chest wall. I wasn’t surprised , but of course dismayed. But, I come from a family of very strong women. My mother was diagnosed with the same size tumor in the same location in 2002, she had been through the same treatment as I would be taking on. She did it, so could I.

4 weeks after my surgery to remove the tumor and 3 lymph nodes (all nodes were negative), my incision healed up well and I started my radiation therapy. For the next 6 weeks Mon-Fri., I went in for my therapy and learned some lessons from day one:

Lessons learned:

1. Don’t go to the Redding rodeo after your first radiation treatment, walked out the door and thought “piece of cake”, sat through the rodeo, stood up to leave and hit the ground face first- passed out- not sure why, but I should have listened to my son and stayed home that night.

2. Corn starch and Silvadene Cream are worth their weight in gold for radiation burns.

3. After surgery, if you think you’re ready to return to work, take one more week.

4. The last 2 weeks of radiation take the time off work. I was more tired than I thought.

5. When asked if you need help with anything, take it. We’re not invincible, and just know that the someone who is helping might need your help someday and be more willing to take it.

6. Remember that the “anti hormone” that you are taking is not forever. That you will someday be able to open a jar again and not wake up and feel like you’re 20 years older than you are and stand up after sitting in a meeting and not take 2-3 minutes before you can take a step due to your body feeling like its just been run over by a big rig.

7. Slowly but surely, the swelling will go down and you can buy new tops that fit properly.

8. Hold your loved ones close, we are given a short time on earth and the most valuable things in your life glitter like the gold – your loved ones and time with them.

9. With God all things are possible!

– Debbie Wiechman

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