My name is Traci Mulder, and I am 40 years old. I have been a breast cancer survivor for six years, since 9/11/2000, and this is my breast cancer story.
Read part one of my breast cancer story: Pregnant, With Breast Cancer: From Discovering a Lump to Breast Biopsy
Awaiting the Results of My Mammogram
Seven days after my mammogram, I went to pick up my mammogram films and report. I needed to take them with me to the surgeon the next day so she could better assess my situation and need for breast biopsy. I promised myself that I wouldn't look at the mammograms or report, since I don't know how to read or interpret films, and I headed out the clinic door.
I had the mammography report out before I got to my car.
What is that? Is that the best or worst?
"Highly suggestive of malignancy."
What? This was supposed to be nothing! I drove directly to my husband’s office in tears. I still don't know how I got there without getting in an accident. Luckily, he saw me pull up and came out to meet me. I handed him the mammography report and continued to sit there and sob. He immediately grabbed his phone and had me page my friend, Brenda, who worked at the hospital.
When Brenda heard my voice and realized that I had read the report, she told me to meet her in ten minutes. Brenda spent at least an hour with me, talking with me, explaining things to me, crying with me, and praying with me. For Brenda to take so much of her time meant so much to me; to this day I am grateful for her support.
The next day, I had an appointment with the surgeon, who took a needle biopsy of my swollen lymph node. Before leaving her office, we scheduled surgery for two days later. The doctor already knew the results of the needle biopsy but did not tell me until after she had all the information from the incisional biopsy. She had them do a frozen cross section, so she would get the results immediately.
Me? This can't be!
The Shock of Breast Cancer Diagnosis: What About My Baby?
My very first question after being diagnosed with breast cancer was what about my baby? What could we do to protect my baby? The surgeon said she recommended an immediate mastectomy because the edges of the biopsy were not "clean." We couldn't do reconstruction at the same time because of the pregnancy, but that was fine with me. I didn’t care about breast reconstruction -- I just wanted to get this traitorous breast off my chest!
The next morning I got the call that we were scheduled for surgery the following Monday. Wait. I haven't even had 24 hours to digest the fact that I have cancer, and you want me to have surgery in three days? Okay, I guess I don't have a choice, but I did. A quick call to Brenda got me in for an emergency ultrasound to confirm the dates of my pregnancy.
Oh my God, no!!! No baby, what do you mean no baby?