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“It’s been a whirlwind of crazy”

              My breast cancer journey – by Misty Sutton

My story is very crazy…

I actually went in to see Dr. Darnell to talk about my health fair results. We were just chatting about them, and he asked me when I had my last mammogram.  I had my first base mammogram when I was 40.  We tossed around the idea of having another exam since I was 43, getting close to 44.  We talked about my history.  I had no breast cancer in my family, I am not a smoker; I had a clear mammogram at 40, and was on birth control.  In our conversation, at first, we thought since I had none of the “red” flags I could probably wait until 45 or 50.

Thankfully, Dr. Darnell and I decided that I might as well have another mammogram, just for another baseline.  Little did I know the chain of events that would follow. 

So, at age 43, I was diagnosed with  DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) stage 0, Level 3, Her2 negative.

Since my diagnosis, it’s been a whirlwind of crazy. From telling friends, and family, meeting with what felt like hundreds of different people, to surgery, to radiation treatments, and ending with hormone blockers. 

I think seeing Dr. Darnell was a ‘God Thing’, but Dr. Darnell says it’s just his job.   

One question I always get is “could you feel it?”  Nope! My tumor was the size of a golf ball and was next to my chest cavity.  The only possible way they caught it as early as they did was with a mammogram. 

DCIS women must have the tumor removed surgically.  That means either a mastectomy, depending on the outcome of the genetic tests, or a lumpectomy.

Mine ended up being a lumpectomy, which removed a tennis ball sized section of tissue.

You then have either radiation, chemotherapy or both.

After my oncologist examined my test results and my biopsies, he said that within 6 months, I would have been in Stage 1 breast cancer and my story would be completely different… 

So I’m still here today to tell you that breast exams and mammograms really do save lives.

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