What is the day of diagnosis? The day the doctor scheduled a biopsy, the day the pathology report comes back? In my case, the process was spread out over several days. The preliminary report for my April 12 biopsy came back that everything was OK.Then on my 50th birthday, April 20, 1998, I found out that the pathologists discovered two small areas of suspicious cells that they couldn't diagnose, so they had sent the slides out to an expert to find out what they were. The doctor spent 45 minutes on the phone with me discussing next steps for treating inflammatory breast cancer. That's the day I usually recognize as my day of diagnosis. However, it was actually about five pm on April 22 that a nurse called with the final result. Somehow I assumed that nurses didn't give bad news over the phone, so my initial reaction to hearing her voice was that the report must be OK. Instead, she told me that I had breast cancer, but she didn't have any information about what type. The doctor wanted to see me late afternoon on Friday the 24th. I assured her we could be there sooner, but she said he liked to schedule this type of appointment as his last of the day so he wouldn't be rushed in talking with the patient. I had to wait until the 24th to get final confirmation that I did have IBC and to get a treatment plan.So this week marks the 15th anniversary of my diagnosis. There have been many scares and some long-term side effects to deal with, but I am still here! I appreciate all the support my friends and family have given me over the years. I try to pass along to others who are facing those scary first days of diagnosis. Getting through cancer is hard, but not impossible. Once you know for sure what is wrong and have a treatment plan, it gets easier.
Published On: April 22, 2013