Deborah2012's Story

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deborah

"I had a very poignant moment when I went for my annual mammogram in January of 2015. I was able to comfort another woman who was losing it. Here's what happened:

"We found ourselves in a hallway between two dressing rooms in the spa-like setup at the imaging center. I, in street clothes leaving, she, in a bathrobe looking for a room before her procedure. There was some confusion with a third woman as to which dressing room Ms. Bathrobe should use and if there was an available locker wrist key etc. Ms. Bathrobe spoke Spanish. So do I. We spoke in Spanish. I offered her my room.

"Being a repeat offender, I well knew the garment rankings of the 'spa.' If one is wearing a bathrobe vs. a maroon-pink tie garment, it meant one had graduated from mammo land and the potential journey into breast cancer world was beginning. Ms. Bathrobe looked like controlled panic. I asked her if she was having an ultra-sound? She replied she was having a biopsy. I told her I had had breast cancer. Tears started streaming down her face. I said, 'You have children don't you?' She said, 'Yes.' I smiled at her, and hugged her. She held onto to me so tightly and began sobbing. I asked her about the ages of her children. Her youngest was 13.

"When she stopped sobbing, I held her at arm's distance, looked her in the eyes and told her that if I had known then what I know now, I would not have been so frightened. I told her that there are millions of us survivors. The clinic was a good one. The doctors there were great. I told her that in some ways my life was better now two years later than it was before breast cancer. I told her to go on Breastcancer.org; it was available in Spanish. They had discussion boards for women who hadn't yet been diagnosed but were scared. Then discussion boards for every possible phase of treatment. I told her how much Breastcancer.org had helped me. I gave her my contact information if she ever needed it and asked her name. I clasped Maria's hands goodbye and she smiled. That exchange was one of those beautiful moments in life that, post cancer, mean so much more.

"I was reminded how far I'd come and how my life had changed so much in even subtle ways in two years."

-- Deborah2012, member since January 2012

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