Betsy Fannin

Breast Cancer Survivor

“It started three days before my 52nd birthday with a yearly mammogram which led to more films and a sonogram, then a biopsy. Then the dreaded phone call. Positive for cancer - micropapillary carcinoma. From that point I felt I was on autopilot. I made an appointment with a surgeon who wanted an MRI, which showed another lump. Auxiliary sonogram and biopsies of lymph node and other lump both came back positive for invasive ductal carcinoma. I called my family and told my boss I was leaving early.

My mom had a lumpectomy and radiation about seven years before, and I was hoping that was what I would have. When the surgeon said mastectomy, I just froze. Did she really say that? I was numb. I remember hearing what she was saying, but my mind was racing with questions. Fortunately, the reconstructive surgeon was there that day and he put me at ease. He would perform a TRAM flap the same day as the mastectomy. Basically it is a tummy tuck, and the fat and muscle are used to build a new breast.

I don’t ever remember dwelling on the fact that I had cancer, that I could die.  I just never let myself go there. The worst part for me was thinking about chemo. I cried more over that than surgery. I didn’t want to go bald, didn’t want to be sick. But chemo was not as bad as I thought. The 1st mammogram after surgery was scary. When the tech told me all was okay, I cried and she hugged me. I was so thankful and relieved! It helped to talk to women who had been through all of this, to know that you can survive! God, family, friends, and survivors who shared their stories with me are what helped me to survive. SEVEN YEARS in May 2017!”

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