Reader story: C. Tadler

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Last November my regular mammography revealed that I had calcifications in my left breast that needed further testing. I was not really worried, as I was told that 85% of the time biopsies of these calcifications come back as non-cancer. I have always taken good care of myself. I eat right, exercise daily, and have no family history of breast cancer.

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I sat at my kitchen table planning the Thanksgiving dinner I was going to have with my family, and the call came from the doctor. "You need to see a surgeon" is all I remember my doctor saying to me. More than anything my mind was a bit paralyzed after the call. I am the one who does everything for everyone in need in my family, yet I couldn't even begin to think of what I needed to do first. Within in an hour, my entire family was gathered around me, my husband, my two sons, my sister-in law, brother, and both parents. After a good cry and a lot of hugs from everyone we all started to come up with a "to do" list of which doctors I should see first. My diagnosis was DCIS of the left breast.

Although many patients diagnosed with DCIS are able to have a lumpectomy with radiation, my calcifications were wide spread in the breast and all the surgeons I met with agreed that my only option was a mastectomy. I underwent a left breast mastectomy on January 4th at NY Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. The doctors and hospital staff were wonderful.

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The biopsy reports revealed that I also had LCIS in my left breast, which has a propensity for being found in both breasts. LCIS is a pre-cancer, but needs to be monitored closely as it can develop into invasive breast cancer. My choices were to have mammographies and sonograms a couple times a year, coupled with taking tamoxifan. I was unwilling to take that risk, and quickly scheduled a mastectomy of my right breast.

Today, I have completed my reconstructive surgeries, I am very happy with the results and I feel wonderful, as I am cancer-free.

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