I was on the phone with my BFF Jen a couple weeks ago when she said, “I am so sorry to be the one to tell you this…” She said that our good friend Ana had just been diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer. I was speechless. Jen said that Ana was exhausted from picking up the phone and telling people about her diagnosis. She asked Jen to tell me the news. Of course I immediately hung up the phone and called Ana. Ana was remarkably calm. She told me that she had an appointment with a surgeon that Friday. She said the tumor was very small and they caught it very early. She had gone for her routine mammogram and had actually opted to get the advanced 3-D mammogram at a cost of $100 extra. Her insurance would only pay for the regular mammogram. She is so happy she did! She went on to say, that the doctor told her that she may not have seen her tiny tumor without the 3-D imaging. Ana also had an ultra sound performed and they were able to verify the tumor’s presence.
Ana, Jen, Denise and I usually meet for breakfast about once a month. So we immediately scheduled a date for Thursday. Right after dropping off our kids, we met at our usual spot. Over perfectly cooked eggs and coffee, we talked and cried and talked. Ana was the first of our small breakfast group to be diagnosed with a serious illness. It hit us all hard. We looked at each other trying to understand. Ana laid it out. The odds aren’t good. It was bound to happen. She threw out some statistics and my mind went blank. I had attended luncheons where breast cancer was the topic, but this was Ana. Our discussion led to the many women in our community who had been diagnosed with various stages of breast cancer. Those that we knew of… We talked about other topics, then we parted ways with hugs. Ana promised us she would report back the following day with the surgeon’s protocol.
As we all suspected Ana would have a lumpectomy with follow-up radiation. The prognosis was the very best we could hope for. Ana had a long road ahead of her. She had a great support system. She said that she thought the best way to handle the situation was step by step. Once she had the surgery, she would get the results and go from there. She thought it best not to worry about something that may not even happen. I loved her attitude. I felt slightly calmer. I immediately double-checked my calendar for my next scheduled mammogram-February! I will not miss that appointment.