Immediately after hearing those words, “You have breast cancer,” you are introduced to physicians you never really wanted to meet. Besides the general surgeon who will be taking the cancer out of your body, you are introduced to an oncologist who discusses placing drugs into your body. An odd thought: putting ‘stuff’ in, while pulling ‘stuff’ out, especially when that stuff is going to be medicinal poison which will cause extreme nausea and vomiting, and will rid me of all bodily hair (ie: leg hair (not so bad), underarm hair (not so bad); head hair, (totally upsetting), eyebrows (minimally upsetting), other inconspicuous areas of bodily hair (not to bad)!!
My first thought after my breast cancer diagnosis was, “I can’t do chemotherapy.” I have spent my entire 42 years of life trying to be healthy; exercising, eating right and constantly monitoring what I put into my body. I CANNOT have medicinal poison running through my veins!!! Unfortunately, this was something I knew could be a clinical requirement, something I might not have a choice in, but knew would not be emotionally or psychologically acceptable to me.
Luckily, my new friend, Dr. Soloman Zimm, otherwise known as my oncologist stated I had two choices in treatment for this cancer diagnosis. The first was to have a lumpectomy with six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, plus tamoxifen for five years. My second option, to have a bi-lateral mastectomy with no chemotherapy, radiation or drugs.
Since I could not fathom the thought of placing chemo in or radiation on my body, I knew a bi-lateral mastectomy would be a better option for me. Plus, in all honestly, I was much more emotionally connected to my hair, than that of my breasts, so if I had to lose one or the other, the breasts were going to go.
In closing, I’ve linked an article by E Medicine, Breast Cancer Treatment & Management, on the many options for treatment of a breast cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, not all patients have choices in their treatment. For me, having a choice was my saving grace through this unexpected chapter of my life. I’m thankful every day I was religious with my mammograms and they caught this unwanted breast invader early.
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Lisa F. Crites
The SHOWER SHIRT Co., LLC,
Principal & Inventor
Corporate Healthcare Consultant
Freelance Health/Medical Journalist