Tuesday, September 22, 2005, was the day that changed my life. It was the day I learnt I had breast cancer and from that point on, nothing has been the same; in fact, it has perhaps been better. I often did a self-check breast exam. One day, I noticed my right breast felt unusually dense, but attributed the density change to my oral hormones associated with a recent hysterectomy. My next mammogram was scheduled in the near term, so I wasn’t worried.
A couple of weeks after the scheduled mammogram, I was informed that I needed another one! That same day I had an ultrasound and lastly a biopsy. Moral of the story: what everyone says is true. Do NOT miss your mammograms. My regular mammogram saved my life. I was very blessed to have been surrounded by a cocoon of family members, friends and the finest medical support team. I remember asking my oncologist, Dr. Raja Mehdi, “Who will be my Champion?” I needed to know who was going to be in charge of all the physicians working through the quagmire of medical procedures and processes. Dr. Mehdi explained he would be in charge of my total care, and he was. He coordinated with my primary care physician, radiologist team, and the infusion team for my chemotherapy. Moreover, Dr. Mehdi became a part of my life in such a good way.
I am one of the many fortunate breast cancer survivors. My type of cancer had a chemotherapy protocol, Herceptin, which had just been approved by the FDA. Without Dr. Mehdi’s use of Herceptin, plus the other regimen of chemotherapy drugs and radiation, I most likely would not be here today telling my story. I found writing status emails to my friends and co-workers about my breast cancer experiences very therapeutic. I intentionally shared the great experiences about the treatments, the loving care of my friends and family and the expert care of Dr. Mehdi and his medical team.
What I received in return from my friends and family was more than I could ever have imagined. Dr. Mehdi is a consummate professional with a very personal touch. Thanks to my family, friends, co-workers, and most importantly the medical team led by Dr. Raja Mehdi, I am here today enjoying my life. Women can beat breast cancer, I did.