Breast cancer survival stories can help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients learn from women who have faced similar experiences before. The Breastlink Angels 2013 calendar shared many inspiring breast cancer survival stories. Dora’s story was featured in the June chapter.
Breast Cancer Survival Stories | Dora
- Dora C. – Age 76
- Diagnosis – April 1998
- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
In 1997 I found a strange “lump” in my right breast. I immediately went to my doctor who could not feel anything. Due to my insistence he ordered an “early” mammogram. The report read: “Everything normal; no changes since 1991”. However, I kept insisting, so the doctor ordered an ultrasound.
That, too, showed nothing. I was still not convinced, so I was sent to a surgeon. He immediately felt what I was feeling, and told me that it had indefinable edges, so he would like to surgically remove it rather than do a needle biopsy. The next day I was on the table. Sure enough, it was breast cancer! That has to one of the worst things a woman can hear, and for me it was the blackest day of my life.
What followed were two years of hell. I saw Dr. John West at Breastlink. What a sweetheart—so kind, gentle and caring. He later performed a mastectomy, and discovered I had 18 positive lymph nodes. The next step was to see an oncologist, Dr. Coluzzi, another sweetheart. He recommended that I have a round of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant (the protocol at that time for women who had more than 10 positive lymph nodes). I then went to Dr. Sender, who performed the stem cell transplant. For 5 days, 6 hrs. a day, my stem cells were collected. Then I went into the hospital. I received 96 hrs. of “heavy-dose chemo”, and later the stem cells were reintroduced. I remained in the hospital for almost 4 weeks, and upon my release I started radiation (every day for seven weeks).
Needless to say the side effects of all these treatments were horrible, but as I look back on all that, it was definitely worth it because almost 15 years later here I am! I thank God for a miracle, my husband and family for all their support, and the amazing team of doctors and health care professionals who saved my life!