Angela's Story, diagnosed at 39

I had been having mammograms every 2 years from the time I was in my late 20s. My maternal grandmother had had a double mastectomy in the 1980s. I had been having some unrelated female problems and had decided to have a Balloon Ablation done to help with those problems.

I wasn't due to have my mammo done until January of 2007 (this was April of 2006, one month after my 39th birthday) but my gynecologist (God bless him!) insisted I go and have a mammo, even though I protested that I wasn't due until January.

Anyway, I used to work in the Breast Center for one of the largest hospitals in our area, so when I went to have my mammogram done, it was like old home week. I was laughing and visiting with my girlfriends who still worked there; even my favorite radiologist was out there visiting. I always insisted on seeing my films, so they brought them out, put them up on the viewing box, and I immediately saw I had a problem. There was a significant cluster of microcalcifications in the right breast. I put my finger on the spot and said, "That's bad." The radiologist confirmed it, and told me that he was about 85% sure I had cancer and to come back for a stereotactic breast biopsy. I scheduled for a week later, as I had already scheduled my surgery for the other female problems.

Well, lo and behold, my first surgery did not go as planned and I ended up with an Emergency Hysterectomy, open from my belly button to the pubic bone. Needless to say, one week later I had the biopsy, still having the staples in my abdomen from the hysterectomy, and now was confirmed I had Grade 3, Stage 0, DCIS, ER/PR+, Comedo Necrosis. 11 days later I underwent a Lumpectomy, and opted to have the Sentinel Node done as well. All in all, I had three surgeries in 19 days. I was at my wits end, to say the least. On top of everything else during this time, my oldest son was graduating from high school!

My Sentinel Node was negative, Thank God.

I underwent 28 Radiation Treatments, and have never looked back. I am the luckiest person in the world. I am 2 years cancer-free and grateful everyday. I even went back to school and became what I dreamed my whole life of being... I am now a proud firefighter and medic. Yep, at the age of 39, I totally changed my entire career path, and I love every minute of what I do. Sometimes I am able to use my experience to help others, so maybe that's why I was meant to go through it. I am doing well and very happy, but I also am diligent about my checkups. I opted not to do Drug Therapy; I decided it wasn't right for me, but that is a very personal choice, and should be discussed at length with your medical team. Good luck to all.....BC sisters rock!