, Salem, MA

Fighting breast cancer

October 16, 2012

From the mouths of survivors


Mullen needs more reconstructive surgery, but she says her health is good.

Meet Meridith Stevens

Meridith Stevens was diagnosed with inflammatory invasive ductal carcinoma on Oct. 26, 2011. It had spread to some of her lymph nodes.

“I followed through on a suspicious lump in my left breast and then other topical changes that were apparent,” she says. “I don’t remember exactly when it was, but I think my suspicions started in early August. I had felt a hard lump in my breast, perhaps an inch away from my nipple. I noticed it by chance, either adjusting a bra or showering. Prior, I had not been good about self-examinations because I had cystic breasts and I blew off self-examining because I figured I’d always be feeling lumpiness, so I might as well leave it up to the experts to determine the differences.”

This time, it was different though. “It was more solid than I had ever felt. I was in complete disbelief because, for goodness sake, I had just had a clear mammogram in April. There was no way the lump could be anything serious.”

As time went on, the lump got harder and bigger and began to swell, and Stevens’ nipple began to discolor and invert. The skin over the lump and neighboring area started turning red and swelling, too.

She was treated with two rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy and then radiation. “Next July, I will have the right breast removed and the first of my reconstruction surgery for both breasts,” she says. “Physically, besides having a higher blood pressure than at the start, residual fatigue from chemo treatments, and having to lose weight and get in condition, I’m otherwise healthy.”

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Fighting breast cancer
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