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One Woman's Journey Through DCIS Breast Cancer

February 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

The phone rings. Please come back to Breastscreen Australia. You have calcification and we need to re-check it. Don't feel for lumps. You don't have any. Oh yeah! I think. They're just over-cautious.

No! I was wrong. I had DCIS. So I am very quickly put on the Breast Cancer roller coaster designed to nip it in the bud and save me.

I read recently that 14,000 Australian women were diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2010. Of those, 1200 were diagnosed with DCIS. The proportions are similar around the world.

DCIS flies under the radar. What is it? It is Ductal Carcinoma In Situ ie calcification in the milk ducts of the breast. Like me, those 1200 Australian women only find out that they have it after their regular mammogram check-up. It is non-invasive which means it has not got into the body. No one dies from it. It may be how Breast Cancer starts but the researchers are not 100% sure. You are more at risk of a recurrence later or even full-blown Breast Cancer but with surgery and radiation therapy, this risk is reduced to less than 10%. Finally, you can keep your breast and your hair.

There is a lot of breast cancer literature available. Here are some of my personal experiences that might help you or someone you know get through it a little easier.

With a left breast that needed a lot of loving thoughts and tender care, she needed a name. (I adapted this idea from a wonderful speaker, Marie Farrugia, on one of my Business Swap CDs.) Annie it was and I still talk gently to her as she continues to heal. Not to be left out, my right breast is Mitzi because they are a team who need to support each other.

I found that one of my slightly flattened, soft square cushions kept my hand and lower arm comfortable as I could only sleep on one side of my body. This suited my situation better than the free Breast cushion from Zonta. Wish I'd had that square cushion the first night after the operation.

Short spiky hair and sleeping on one side only don't mix; so I had to adopt a slightly longer softer hairstyle.

A very soft, real Australian lambswool seatbelt protector has made driving more comfortable for my swollen, tender Annie after surgery, during radiation therapy and still as she continues to heal.

Finding a Blog that related to my love of laughing at life's idiosyncrasies was daily medicine for my soul.

Also on the funny side, receiving hugs from others became an occupational hazard as I protected Annie from harm. She even demanded that I change my handbag to the other shoulder and this made supermarket shopping sometimes quite funny as Annie and I shared our little problems.

My 30 radiation sessions were re-named Radiation Therapy Healing Sessions and going to them became a blessing not a chore. Annie and I needed to be reminded of that often. When the hospital green radiation gown got to me, I bought brighter material, copied the design and sewed my own version. All these little things were my way of being an active participant in my healing rather than a passive observer.

On the down side because DCIS is not life threatening, I had days when I felt a Breast Cancer fraud, especially when people called me brave. I was in no danger of dying. So I did not feel brave. It was then I learnt to remind myself that all illnesses require courage and everyday courage is as important as big inspiring acts of courage.

With my strong colouring, pink is something I choose to take in very small doses. Everywhere I turned there was a mountain of pink. At times I found that to be emotionally over-whelming. Even going overseas I couldn't escape Breast Cancer pink. It was just something I had to experience and let it show me my pink lesson.

I am blessed to have had wonderful medical care, a loving husband and supportive family, friends and business associates. DCIS changed me physically. Now it is important for me to decide how I am going to live the rest of my life.

DCIS - what's that? On behalf of Annie, Mitzi and me, I hope this may help you or someone you know who finds it unexpectedly in her life.

Margaret Sims is an Image Consultant and Fashion Translator who was diagnosed with DCIS in June 2009. Read another of Margaret's personal thoughts on DCIS at http://margaretsims.wordpress.com. Margaret helps women discover their true personality and how to shine as a modern woman over 40 with or without breast cancer. If this interests you, visit http://thefashiontranslator.wordpress.com Blog for more fashion tips. Go to the Signup page where you can sign up to get the free twice-monthly newsletter on fashion and life lessons and receive your free eBook and Audio - 'Look Fabulous, Feel Confident Every Day'.

Source: EzineArticles
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