"On February 14, 2003 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at a routine mammogram. They biopsied three areas that very day. I remember crying in the office of the woman who had to tell me. She asked what she could say to help me and I said 'tell me it's early, tell me I will be fine.' She could not reassure me...it was bad. I had 3 areas of cancer in my breast; one was over 3 cm and one was in a lymph node.
"I started on chemo within a week. I went every 3 weeks...the dose-dense (every 2 weeks) was just starting back then. Chemo sucked but I got through it, went on to have a mastectomy and then radiation.
"A few weeks after my diagnosis a friend told me about Breastcancer.org. I signed on and 'lurked' for a bit. I wasn't familiar with chat rooms or Discussion Boards and it took awhile to get my nerve up to give it a try. I used my dog's name, Sachi, as my name. Many women reached out to me when I finally became brave enough to post. I felt welcomed and understood. Some of those women have passed on now.
"I remember when I had to do extra A/C chemo because I was allergic to Taxol. I was so upset and came right to the Boards to complain. I called myself a failure and Flash called me a chemo rock star! It's silly but it made me feel so much better.
"I went to a few of the get-togethers we had back then. I still remember our meeting at The Oyster Bar in NYC. There were 3 or 4 of us who were still bald. We all stood and talked about our journey and lots of pictures were taken! I also saw people at Cold Springs and another meeting in NYC. It was so wonderful to connect with people who understood what I had been through. If the big banner is still around, my signature should be on it at least three times. That was such a fun way to feel connected!
"Fast forward 11 years...I am now a grandmother of two. I have been to Africa twice with my daughters. My husband and I are planning a trip to Greece. Life is good. I don't think I was supposed to be here. I remember that poor woman who I asked to give me reassurance and she couldn't. You never know...."
--Sachi (Barb), Honeoye Falls, NY, USA
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