Survivor: Breast Cancer or Bust

October 1st starts the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month. While cancer is not month, holiday, race or gender specific, this is the month Americans are reminded of this disease. If there is a women in your life, chances are she either has been affected by the disease or knows someone who has.
To paraphrase from Full Metal Jacket, there are many stories like this about breast cancer, but this one is mine. I was 38 years old and was diagnosed with DCIS from my first mammogram. As soon as my internist recommended a biopsy, I knew it wasn’t good. Many women do have beign results or false-positives, but I am not one of those subsets. Lying on that table, boobs dangling through holes so the radiologist could see how widespread it was had me in knots. I had to wait out Labor Day (one of many useless holiday weekends to come) weekend to find out my test results. So, I was given the name of a surgeon and off I went.

Did I tell you I was laid off during this time? As it happens, I was laid off during this time, so I didn’t have private insurance and COBRA was too expensive. Fortunately, I was living in California, where state law mandates that any women diagnosed with breast cancer be treated – all types of therapy – and reconstruction regardless of income or insurance. Thankfully, San Francisco General is not only a fine trauma center, but where the Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Center is located. I was treated with the utmost care and opted for a mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction. More on that to come.

Today’s BCC (breast cancer charity) is the Avon Comprehensive Breast Care Center. They do wonderful work for the undeserved in the Bay Area.


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