Terese Halsey Tice

In April 1987 the Air Force transferred my husband to George AFB in California.  I was 30 years old the mother of 3 wonderful children and life was good, or so we thought.  We were given a two story home Texas Ave where we lived until we bought our first home about 9 months later.  We played out in the yard, did somersaults, mowed the grass and my kids learned to run around the desert barefoot and we loved our life.

In 1989 I found a lump in my left breast.   I had done everything right or so I thought.  I was NOT high risk.

  • Breast fed 3 babies
  • Had my children prior to turning 26
  • Never smoked and rarely had a drink
  • NO family history

So 2 ½ years after moving into base housing at George AFB, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

On October 30, 1989, I had a breast biopsy.  My surgeon was 96 % sure it was benign.   I fell into the 4 % range and it was cancer.  I was devastated.  How could I have breast cancer?   My husband, children and I cried and I kept hoping that I would wake up to find out it was a dream.

The month from biopsy to Mastectomy was devastating for me.  I cried, I asked why, I asked how, see I was not a high-risk case.   I didn’t want to have a mastectomy, I didn’t want cancer.  I asked the doctor what caused it?  How long has it been growing in my body?  Questions no one could answer.

The mental anguish was horrific.  I could not figure out how at the age of 34 I was going to let them take my breast, yet I wanted to live to see my children grow up, go to college and marry.

On November 30, 1989, I had a mastectomy.  The cancer cells had spread to my lymph nodes so I had a year of chemo.  I not only had breast cancer, but two types.  Ductal and Lobular breast cancer.

Typing this brings back the memories and I think of how unfair it was that I may have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the home that the USAF provided for us to live.

I have since had the BRAC 1 and BRAC 2 test done, and I am NOT a carrier of the breast cancer gene.  I should not have received such a diagnosis as I tried to do everything right in order to prevent breast cancer.

As I sit here and type this email to you I realize the emotional and physical scars are still there.  I am thankful to have a supportive family.   That’s how I got through this emotional roller coaster.

I am not a doctor or attorney, and cannot give medical advice or legal advice.

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