My first bout with breast cancer was 15 years ago when it appeared on a mammogram. I had no symptoms. Even my treating doctor at that time couldn't feel a lump – only a biopsy confirmed it. I had surgery and also was treated with radiation implants. For the next 10 years, I had yearly mammograms and yearly MRIs to monitor myself. After 10 years, the MRIs were discontinued, but I still had yearly mammograms.
Skip to Jan. 31, 2022, when I had another annual mammogram. I was so confident that I'd just have my usual good news. Instead, I was shocked and very deflated when the tech said the radiologist wanted to see me. The radiologist showed me the prior year's mammogram and compared it to the one from 2022. He showed me the dark "spot" that hadn't been there the previous year in my left breast. He explained to me that it had ragged edges that were more indicative of a cancerous tumor than a benign.
At that point, my memory is a little foggy. I was totally shaken, but the staff in the office had already heard the news and were very kind and gentle with me when I reached the outer office to schedule whatever needed to be done next. Fortunately, the kind office staff immediately connected me with an incredible surgical oncologist, Chand Rohatgi, MD. Again, someone had my back – and Dr. Rohatgi had a cancellation that very afternoon if I wanted to come back at 3 p.m. Indeed, I did.