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.