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Proud Survivor

Proud Survivor


I am 53 years mother, grandmother and was a wife at the time of my diagnosis.  After visiting a Breast Health Specialist, in 2011, I was diagnosed with Atypia which is pre-cancerous ductile carcinoma. My diagnosis showed I had an 87.5% chance of developing breast cancer in the next 3 years. My last biopsy, earlier that year, showed a 98% fill on 6 lumps of Atypia cells. When it is at 100% you are classified with stage 1 Ductile Carcinoma.  I lost my mother in 2001; my grandmother to breast cancer in 1973 and my sister was diagnosed in 2009. My sister underwent a mastectomy and is currently on tamoxifen.  Three of my cousins and aunts are also breast cancer survivors.

In June 2011, I underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction after undergoing seven prior breast biopsy surgeries in less than five years. My MRI at the time was showing 13 additional lumps in my breast.  My family and I underwent BRCA testing and none of us tested positive for the gene they currently look for. They consider our family a “cluster group”. After my surgery I met with my oncologist and discussed my ongoing treatment options.  My doctor explained that tamoxifen therapy would not be my best option as this treatment takes an average of five years for follow-up results.  My other option was to have a radical bi-lateral mastectomy and that was the treatment I opted for.

Two weeks later I was re-admitted to the hospital in serious condition.  I was placed on IV anti-biotic for 60 days and later oral anti-biotic until January 2012.  During that time my husband passed away and I was under extreme duress. Needless to say those months of surgery, recovery and loss were hell for me and a rough altogether.  Now, I have come roaring back with a will and strength that at times even surprises me.

I push myself and back off as my body permits. I have become physically and mentally fit again training for Susan G. 3 Day Walk in October.  As I walk my neighborhood training for the walk my neighbors have been great at encouraging me. I am adamant that the life I was given and now living will be a healthy one.  My body has been through hell and back and my plastic surgeon say’s I am a poster child for the tram procedure!

I recently went to the Dominican Republic for some R&R and went topless on the beach! I am proud to be a survivor.  I am thrilled about getting my body back in shape. I am excited to be participating in the 3 day walk to honour all those who are fighting and winning the battle as well as for those who fought and lost the battle against Breast Cancer.  So far I have lost over 70 pounds through diet and a fit lifestyle plan. I am happy, healthy and alive!

Colleen S.

Atlanta, GA

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