My Story: Woman’s Best Friend

Insight Articles
March 17, 2017
By: 
Lorelee Fuchs, for LBBC

I look at life a little different now. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I try to pay attention to the important things in my life. I have strong faith and the belief that things come into your life for a reason, like the puppy I picked from a litter of eight.

In late October 2012, while I was watching a football game, my son’s dog Lexie jumped on the couch with me to rest. On her way up she happened to step on my right breast. I wasn’t too happy about it because she weighs about 25 pounds. The next day I noticed that my breast was quite bruised and was alarmed because not only was I bruised but also I had a very small dimple on the bruise that I hadn’t noticed before.

I checked for a lump and couldn’t detect anything, so on the computer I went, Googling like crazy. I learned that a dimple on the breast can be caused from traumainfo-icon but can also mean breast cancer. I waited about 2 weeks. The bruise went away but the dimple did not. It was very hard to see and I could only see it if my breast was positioned a certain way. I booked an appointment with my doctor right away. He also could not detect a lump and said it’s probably from the bruising and trauma but that it could be a sign of breast cancer.

I freaked out. At 46 I had no real personal or family history of breast cancer or any cancer for that matter. I was always looking for new health tips and new natural ways to protect myself from illness and yet this happened! My doctor sent me for a mammograminfo-icon immediately. When I got to the mammographyinfo-icon clinic, I showed the technicianinfo-icon the dimple. She said, “Oh my, that’s nothing to worry about. It’s just the normal crease of your breast.” I said, “Well, I won’t be here very long then, will I?”

The rest is history. I went from that mammogram to another diagnostic mammograminfo-icon and then an ultrasound. I prodded the technician to tell me if there was something there. She finally said, “Yes,” and that my doctor would be in touch and perhaps want another image. I remember looking at the screen and seeing the letters “SCG.” I immediately knew it meant “suspected cancer growth.” My doctor phoned me that night and confirmed that they were about 90 percent sure it was cancer.

I was supposed to have a lumpectomyinfo-icon, but on the day of my surgeryinfo-icon the radiologistinfo-icon said there was another area on the breast MRIinfo-icon he had concerns about. He said he wanted me to follow up about it after the lumpectomy. After asking a million questions, I called the surgeoninfo-icon that was to do my surgery and asked her opinion. She said the radiologist was an expert in his field. So I decided to have a mastectomyinfo-icon later that day.

So off to the hospital I went. I remember thinking, “This is so wrong. I don’t feel sick. I’m a healthy woman. I have always tried hard to look after my health, but in a few minutes they are going to remove my right breast.” As they wheeled me down the hospital corridor to the operating room, I stared at the ceiling and thought, “Please wake me up. This is a nightmare. This can’t be happening.” Well, happen it did.

About 10 days later my surgeon called with the results: The margins were clear and one lymph nodeinfo-icon tested positive for cancer. She was sure she got it all. She said to give that dog some extra love for helping me find the cancer early. I met with my oncologistinfo-icon and he did more tests to make sure the cancer hadn’t metastasized. I had a CT scaninfo-icon and a bone scaninfo-icon: Both were clear. I went on to have chemotherapyinfo-icon and radiationinfo-icon. In September 2014 I had a TRAM flap reconstruction to my right breast. I feel that the surgery, though very intense, was well worth it.   

You know, many people ask, “Why me?” after they are diagnosed. Believe me, I went through a very “feel sorry for me” period. But I was so very blessed to have a wonderful, supportive husband, son and daughter who were there for me every step of the way. My friends were awesome, as were my employer and co-workers. I returned to work full-time and the mammogram I had last May was clean.

I look at life a little different now. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I try to pay attention to the important things in my life. I have strong faith and the belief that things come into your life for a reason, like the puppy I picked from a litter of eight. I got the puppy for my son, Michael, but I think she was meant for me.

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