Breast cancer wasn’t on my summer break ‘to do’ list
Ahh! The first day of summer break 2015…So much to look forward to: relaxing, reading a book or two unrelated to school, maybe an antiquing trip… Just a few of the things that were on my “to do” list. That was, until I got a call that changed my life forever… a call informing me that the mammogram I had two days earlier at the Caldwell Breast Center at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., was showing abnormal results. “Can you come in today for additional imaging…?”
Another mammogram, diagnostic ultrasound, biopsy and finally the call came confirming the fear I had all along – “Yes, the tumor is malignant.” An invasive carcinoma to be exact. Bottom line: I had CANCER… At that moment, I was in a state of shock; scared of what the future would hold, wondering how much a future I actually had and most difficult of all, how would I explain this to my kids?
And so my journey with breast cancer began… Never in my life had I felt so fragile and uncertain. That being said, I knew I must face my cancer diagnosis head-on and do all that was in my power to be a survivor! Time to focus on the positive…Because of my annual mammogram, the cancer was detected early (#grateful.) Also, concerned about the future of my daughter and sister, I had genetic counseling to test for the BRCA I & II genes. Results were negative (#another reason to be grateful!)
Next were the consultations with Dr. Heidi Memmel to empower me with treatment options. Ultimately, a lumpectomy was performed, lymph nodes were tested and found to be clear and I even received a comfy pillow made/donated by a women’s church group to comfort patients after surgery (#super grateful for all of the above!) A few weeks later, radiation treatments began, followed by a regimen of tamoxifen for the next ten years (#not so bad, minus the occasional hot-flashes!)
There you have it, my story of summer break 2015 with a very unexpected twist! Now, it’s one year later, and I’m still going STRONG with regular 6 month follow-up appointments.
Ultimately, mine is a story of GRATITUDE and STRENGTH.
About the Author
Chris Boldt is a happily married, proud mom of 2. She has been a teacher in the Chicago Catholic Schools for the past 24 years, and believes that facing challenges in your life head-on can truly make you a grateful and stronger person.