SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 11, 2012

Letter: Two lives lost to breast cancer

To the editor:

I was wondering if you would be interested in hearing from someone who has lost a mother and an older sister to breast cancer.

I remember when I was 21 years old, my mother told me that she would be getting pains in her right breast, bad enough that it would make the hair on both arms stand up on end. I was after her to go to the doctor’s for a checkup to see what was causing the pain. Naturally, she didn’t go right away; the pain got more frequent as time went by. Finally, with all my prodding for her to go to the doctor’s, she finally went.

The doctor examined her and had X-rays taken and found a lump in her right breast. He set up an appointment for her to go to the hospital to have the lump removed.

When the doctor opened up the breast, he took a biopsy of the lump. The report was not good. The report of the biopsy came back as cancer.

It was already discussed between Mom and the doctor that he may have to take the breast off if the report came back as cancer.

When Mom woke up after surgery, she didn’t know if she still had her breast or not. She found it gone. When the doctor found out she was awake, he came in her room and explained to her he had to do what they called a radical mastectomy, which includes cutting under her arm to remove the lymph nodes. He told Mom he would have to have her begin chemotherapy and radiation. She was sick from the chemo and her skin where her breast was was like a piece of raw beef from the radiation. This went on every week for six weeks, vomiting from the chemo and hurting from the burned skin, from the radiation. After the six weeks, she finally stopped vomiting and her skin started to heal up. It would be so itchy.

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