Nancy Barker My journey began in late March of 2016. I had my yearly mammogram and they asked me to return for a second one so that they could get a different view of one area in my right breast. This was nothing new to me, as it had happened many times before, but had always turned out to be fibrous tissue. I knew it was something more when they took my husband and I to a conference room to speak to the radiologist. They scheduled a needle biopsy for the following day. My primary care physician called me on April 1st, confirming that I had stage zero cancer in the right breast. I was very proactive in choosing my surgeon and oncologist immediately. My daughter had gone through cancer in both breasts seven years previously. She (Dawn) and my husband (Tim) were so supportive in going with me to all of my appointments, and because she is a nurse, Dawn was able to recommend good doctors. It was such a comfort having her to help me know what I needed to do next. She would always be my second set of ears and I could count on her to explain everything to me in words I could understand. I assumed that since it was stage zero, I would just have to have a lumpectomy and be done with it. When I saw the surgeon, she suggested that I have genetic testing done. My oncologist agreed, so now all the appointments began. We discussed the results with a genetic counselor, and although I did not have the BRCA gene, because of my family’s history of different forms of cancer, and the fact that my blood work came back double negative meaning I wasn’t hormone receptive, her recommendation was to have a double mastectomy. After discussing all of this with my husband and two children, as well as their families, I chose to have the bilateral mastectomy. My chances were too high of getting it in the other breast, and I did not want to go through all this again. My entire family, including all eight grandchildren, were such a tremendous support and were with me every step of the way. Now the frustrating part began. Once I made the decision, I just wanted to get it out! I saw my reconstruction doctor and was told that I fell into a very small percentage of women that could have 80% of the reconstruction done on the same day as the mastectomies. I was thrilled with that, but finding an operating room that was available when both the surgeon and the reconstruction doctor could do it, proved to be difficult. I finally had the surgery on May 17th, and, fortunately, the lymph nodes were all negative. I feel I had a very quick recovery. The best news was that I didn’t have to have either chemotherapy or radiation. I had a huge fear of that. I had the rest of my reconstruction done in November, and that surgery also went well. My faith in God was what I leaned on through this entire process. He didn’t let me down and I can truthfully say that I felt great peace throughout the process. I felt covered in prayer and I have my entire family as well as many, many friends to thank for that. God was, once again, listening.
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Nancy is the vision of a Grecian goddess swaying in her regal purple one shoulder gown from Bill Levkoff, $234. The feminine bodice and the drape of her skirt softly flatters her shape. Bold drop rhinestone earrings, $36, and bracelet, $50, show off her style. Courtesy of Dora Grace Bridal, Fort Collins.
Published on Aug 31, 2017