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The Biopsy and Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Time to Tell the Family
How do you tell your family that you have cancer, especially if you live hundreds of miles away? And when is the right time? I certainly didn’t want to worry anyone before the biopsy results, and we still didn’t have a lot of information, but the time to tell those closest to us had arrived.

I wanted to make sure I was composed before making my first call, which would be to my adult daughter. I sat at the kitchen table for several minutes, phone in hand, trying to gather my courage, when she called me. I echoed her happy hello, but she knows me all to well. “What’s wrong, Mom?”

I started to speak, but there was a catch in my throat. “Give me a moment.” I didn’t want to do this to her.

“I was just diagnosed with breast cancer.”

The brief guttural sound that came from her throat broke my heart. We both regained our composure and had a frank discussion. In her heartfelt and very analytical way, she worked through her questions and offered up her love and support. My two sons were equally loving and concerned. How I hated burdening them with this news!

How do you call your elderly mother — who lives alone — and tell her you have cancer? I couldn’t. Instead, I placed another call to someone who could help. “I need my big brother,” were the first words out of my mouth. Explaining the diagnosis and my concerns about telling Mom by phone, my brother agreed to deliver the news to her in person. What an awful thing to have tell you mother, and what a loving thing to do so for your sister.

As evening rolled in we settled on the sofa to watch television. We thought about making popcorn, which is our cherished ritual. “I wish we had some ice cream,” I thought out loud. So after a few moment’s discussion about the wisdom of junk food at 9:00 p.m., we decided that if you can’t go out for ice cream on the day you learn you have cancer, when can you? Ice cream it was.

Author’s Note: This is article is part of a series chronicling my first-hand patient perspective of life with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Without being overly self-indulgent, I hope to convey the raw emotion that comes with such a diagnosis… and the process of living with and beyond it. Entries will appear in Care2 Causes and in Care2 Healthy & Green Living. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
#1 The Lump in my Breast: Meeting the Enemy
#2 Most Breast Lumps are Non-Cancerous: Would mine be?
#3 The Mammogram, the Ultrasound, and ‘the Look’

Access the up-to-date Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series

For More Information:
Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
American Cancer Society
BreastCancer.org

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

59 comments

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8:24PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Thanks for sharing

2:17PM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Cheers, NAN.
I understand what your saying. With the Primal Diet, I only go as far as fish and eggs for animal protein. This diet goes beyond good health, it is a rejuvenating diet, if you commit to it. If you just want to tailor it to suit your lifestyle, and beliefs, it can work nicely for you.
Cheers.

10:12AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Sending prayers your way. Hope all goes well.

6:12AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

Thanks, Keith. I will check it out. But food is such a dilemma for me. I don't want to eat bad food, don't want to eat carbs (fattening at my age and my addiction), dont want to hurt the animals. It is difficult being perfect and I cant be. Although I do believe a plant-based diet is healthiest, most slimming, and best for the animals and planet, so that's what my forever goal is. I am the only female & oldest besides my mom in a family of three sisters, including me - I am the only one (63 yrs old) who has not gotten breast cancer. Vegan for many years, organic for many years, and all the "avoid breast cancer" stuff. Coincidence?

5:46AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

NAN.V.
You're on the right track there.
Pasteurised milk, and cooked meats are probably a no no, but these same 2 foods in their raw form are excellent for health and regeneration!
Of course do your own research on this concept. The Primal Diet site( Wewant2live) is a good place to start.
All the best.

4:56AM PDT on Apr 24, 2011

I never get mammagrams. They are dangerous. I've always gotten ultrasounds (just as effective) and now I get thermagrams. I also try to avoid dairy and meat. I eat very very little, and usually only if I travel and having a difficult time finding veggies dishes. Dairy ups the estrogen and meat messes up hormones. Good luck to all women with this dreadful fear. Oh, and try to eat organic foods - pesticides turn into organo-estrogen.

9:11PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Sending positive thoughts your way, hope all turns out well :)

2:08PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

I hope everything goes well, sending love and hope to you!

11:43AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Must be so scary

7:16PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

im so moved by your story god bless!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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