Be the Boss Over Cancer

by Nancy D. on June 23, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
DCIS Left Breast
Date of Diagnosis:
December 1, 2008
Employment Status:
Small business owner
Age:
48
Type and Description of Treatments:
DCIS left breast diagnosed 12/1/08 Mastectomy 12/12/08 - nodes were clear - no chemo - no radiation.
How do you feel today?

I feel fine...and I have to be honest this whole breast cancer thing for me was a huge let down. I never even got a pink T-shirt. Six months since surgery and all I have left is a crater in my chest where my boob used to be. I thought I would get used to it as time when on but it was ugly then and it's still ugly now. And I am no swimsuit model or generally concerned about my body size - sorry ladies not super woman cancer survivor running marathons here! I prefer the couch, the remote and some ice cream...but I am considering reconstruction. Why? The first 90 degree day it felt like I was carrying around a load of mashed potatoes in my bra....so much for the
"light weight" model prosthetic. Every day, no matter what I am adjusting the bra, the shirt or the prosthetic swearing that someone is looking at me. My son has assured me that no one looks at me (Nice Mike!)
but I still feel that way.

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?

So for fun I try and find a plastic surgeon to get information about the reconstruction...largest medical insurer in NJ has TWO within a fifty mile radius of me - LOVELY! So I go to the first and he's nothing less than creepy, had never seen a prosthetic before and was asking me questions that I would think someone with breast reconstruction experience with have to have known....He's out! I go to the second plastic surgeon and he is knowledgeable, experienced and a no bologna kind of doctor...perfect for me. Now I just have to figure out how I can schedule the time to get it done; maybe early fall. Then it takes almost a year start to finish. I think I really need to want a boob to do this.

What is going well for you right now?

Business is really good right now. Even though my company is twenty years old I still work every day all day...that's why we're 20 years old! I thought my priorities would change when I was diagnosed but they didn't. I still want to work and I think I always will. I just threw a new puppy into the mix - CRAZY! I think I just did it because I could. Funny though when I was diagnosed, I swore I was going to cut back on work, do more stuff and retire early - It's just not happening. It's like I hit a bump in the road not any kind of major road block. But I do know I am absolutely lucky that things were not worse considering I was an idiot and had never had a mammography at 47 years old. Every day I do thank God that my breast swelled.....

What is not going well for you right now?

I want a stinkin' Pink T-Shirt!!

What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?

You need to make a decision about whether you're going to tell people about the mastectomy or not...I told everyone! I joke about it, I play about it, I sometimes make people uncomfortable about it. Too Bad! I didn't ask for this and if I make an impression on them they'll remember to go get a Mammo....

When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?

Still my family!

What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?

Back to full speed ahead....

Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?

Not much! Need to find time to be out a week or so for the reconstruction.....

What has helped you continue to work the most?

Determination!

If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?

You'll survive!!!