Suanne (Sue) Jacob


 

Suanne (Sue) Jacob

2015 was the year that almost broke me, not just my physical body but my spirit as well. My dad was at the end stages of his life after fighting Multiple Myeloma. The last thing on my mind was my own health. Trying to keep my annual physical appointments and scheduling mammograms were not even on the top 10 of my To Do List. In the middle of 2014, my doctor had given me a script to do a mammogram since I was about to turn 40. I put it off, not only because I hate having to deal with the mammogram process, but because I was trying to spend most my time with my parents, who live in Chicago. After spending time with them in the summer, I headed back home to North Carolina. I remember that August night very clearly, my husband and I were watching tv when his elbow grazed my left breast. I felt pain. I told my husband and he said I should schedule my mammogram. I told him I had been holding on to the script for the past 13 months so I should be able to schedule fairly quickly. A week later, after my screening mammogram, I was asked to come back to do a diagnostic mammogram. I was told there was some findings and that they would like me to do a biopsy. I did that and two days later I was diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) which is sort of like a precancer. Because I am not well endowed, a lumpectomy would not be feasible. I decided to do a mastectomy.  My BRACA testing came back negative so I decided against a double mastectomy and decided on left side mastectomy with FLAP reconstruction. Surgery went well and I was surrounded by supportive family and friends. This particular time was made harder because I decided not to tell my parents about my diagnosis. I did not want my dad to die with the fears of my cancer diagnosis in his head and I knew my mom would not be able to handle my news when already spiraling with my Dad’s prognosis. When the time came to get my pathology report I was stunned to learn that the cancer had broken through the duct and I was now Stage 1a Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I needed to undergo chemotherapy. I started my first round of taxol and herceptin in November of 2015 and the following month my Dad passed away. Although it was difficult, I was happy he went peacefully with no sadness or fear in his heart. My mom came to stay with me in February and I revealed my diagnosis to her. She was heartbroken for me, but she also knew and understood why I kept it a secret. With her help, and the help of loved ones surrounding me, I finished my chemotherapy regimen and I am currently on Tamoxifen, which I will finish in 2021!!!! It has been a long and difficult journey but with the support of others and the love of God, I made it!! I cannot stress the importance of vigilance regarding our health and the understanding to seek help when we feel that things do not seem right with our bodies. Shame and embarrassment are not reasons to avoid seeking medical attention. If I had continued to let embarrassment stop me from finally going for my routine screening mammogram, I do not know where I would be today, but I firmly believe that my prognosis would have been a very different one.

 
USALopamudra Das Roy