The Miami Herald

Barbara Estis

This is a very personal story for me to share, but I hope it can help anyone else who may get diagnosed with breast cancer. I will never forget the day I was told I may have breast cancer. It was January 21st, 2009, Inauguration Day. I had just finished watching the inauguration with some friends and was at home with my daughter. The phone rang, it was my gynecologist. She told me, Barbara, I can’t believe I have to give this news to you, but they called me with your mammogram and ultrasound results. The news is not good. They think you may have breast cancer. I remember hanging up the phone and wondering, what now?

A few days went by and I was just numb. I really didn’t know what to do. I didn’t feel sick, I kept telling myself. After a lot of crying, I finally got myself together and went into a fact finding mode. I found out I would need a biopsy and MRI, of both breasts, so I scheduled these as soon as I could. What you find out is they take their time scheduling your tests, you wonder “why is no one in a hurry?” Don’t they know I could be dying?! What you find out eventually, is you do have time. Don’t tell that to someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer, because you feel as if your world is coming to an end.

Now comes the day for the biopsy results, I have to call the doctor at 2:15pm. She tells me it is what they feared, invasive ductal cell carcinoma. I fall apart again. Thank goodness my sister was able to fly in from out of town, she was my rock. Together with my husband, they held me together. She organized and made my appointments. She got reports sent to the right people, she handled the kids with my husband. If you can find someone to really be there for you I highly recommend it. You need someone to be your calm and steady go to person. Cancer can consume you, especially in the beginning.

In the end I had my surgery and radiation. With the help of great family and friends I am learning to accept I AM A SURVIVOR!




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