I wanted to share some important news with you in hopes that it will make a difference in your life or the lives of those you love.
I have breast cancer. I went in for my routine mammogram in early April and was called back for a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy. They knew just from the imaging that it was cancer. The biopsy confirmed their diagnosis, revealing that I have invasive ductal carcinoma.
Fortunately for me, we appear to have caught this relatively early. The tumor is relatively small — 2 cm — and the ultrasound showed clear lymph nodes. The tumor is made up of the most treatable form of breast cancer, which helps, too. My blood work came back normal, as well. Still, we won’t know whether the cancer has spread until after my surgery on June 5. I have opted for a bilateral mastectomy — the removal of both breasts — because I want to do all I can to minimize my chances for a recurrence of this disease.
I’m sharing this story for one important reason: Getting a mammogram saved my life.
I don’t know any woman who enjoys getting a mammogram. I’ve never found them particularly painful, but they always made me nervous. Until I got the news that all was clear, I worried in the back of my mind that I might get “the call.” To make it easier, my friends and I scheduled our mammograms around the same time so that we could support one another. We were “mammo buddies.”
But fear of breast cancer is the absolute worst reason not to get a mammogram. The bad news you might get from a mammogram is far less frightening than what you might miss if you don’t get screened.
If I had put off my mammogram or skipped it for a year or two, I would find myself in a desperate fight for my life. As things are, I’m probably looking at surgery, some chemo, and the rest of my life cancer-free. Although this won’t be fun, it sure beats discovering that I had a chance to save my own life—and let it slip away.
When it comes to breast cancer, it’s better to be proactive than afraid. Please do yourself and those you love a favor and never skip a mammogram.
My priority for the rest of this year is going to be treatment and recovery, so I likely won’t be able to write as much as I had hoped. I have started the next I-Team book, Holly’s story, and I plan to write as much as I can. But my health has to be my No. 1 priority. So please don’t think I’ve forgotten you or all the heroes and heroines whose stories I’ve promised to tell.
In the meantime, I want to thank all of you who’ve supported me through the past month with your Facebook posts and the Pink for Pamela campaign. I cannot tell you how it felt to log in on Facebook and find that my feed had turned overnight into hundreds of Pink for Pamela ribbons.
Breast cancer is as real as it gets, and this past month has been one of the toughest of my life. But I’m not alone. With your support, the help of my family and friends, and God’s love to carry me through treatment, I know I’m going to be fine.
Sending warm wishes for your health,
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