In December 1992, I was 32 years old.
My husband and I had just been married for 6 months.
We found a lump in my left breast… and, uncharacteristically… it hurt.
I did not fit the breast cancer profile.
I was too young, did not smoke or drink, exercised every day and had no family history of breast cancer.
And yet, thankfully, my doctors did not rely on that profile.
They did not dismiss or disregard our concerns.
My mammogram was negative.
But the lump was palpably obvious and so an ultrasound was performed and a biopsy scheduled.
And so, thanks to continued exploration, my large tumor was found.
Within weeks of finding the lump, I had my left mastectomy and lymphectomy.
And then 7 months of chemo.
My husband came with me to every single doctor’s visit, every single chemo session, every single lab test.
And still does to this day.
He is my rock.
I was lucky.
And vigilant in my ongoing follow-up.
In a 1996 follow-up mammogram, abnormalities were found, and the mammo was repeated four more times during that visit.
My right mastectomy was scheduled.
Soon after my surgery, my husband’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She was not as lucky.
We have learned that life is short and precious and the future is unknown.
It is important to appreciate each moment and live as full and meaningful a life as possible.
Together, my husband and I have found dance as a joyous outlet to share with each other, to laugh in each other’s arms and enjoy our time together.
So, when we saw the Dancing With the Survivors fundraiser, we thought that it would be a fun and meaningful way to show support.
I am dancing to honor the memory of my sister-in-law and to support the patients and their families who endure unspeakable fear and manage the strength to keep moving forward.
I am blessed to have the love and support of family and friends.
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