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Lee Oesterling

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45, almost 10 years ago. To say I was shocked is an understatement....because you see I am also a lymphoma survivor (I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma when I was 34) I have been hit with the cancer stick TWICE. In the case of my breast cancer, I had only skipped ONE year of my annual mammogram. When the clinic called me back for another scan, I was not too worried, but then when they needed a biopsy I began to feel a bit of panic. Luckily since it was caught early and was a stage zero, plus all of my markers came back with reasonable margins, I underwent a double mastectomy, followed by 10 weeks of radiation (4x weekly). Was it painful? yes. Was it terrifying? yes. Was I depressed? at times, yes. I have a wonderful husband and three amazing kids so the thought of leaving them at a (relatively) young age made me cry (sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside). Breast cancer is very treatable, so when I hear friends say they have NEVER had a mammogram, I have no patience with them. Caught early, breast cancer survival rates are pretty good - so my message is for women to NOT IGNORE YOUR HEALTH. We work out and we make sure that our kids get their annual physicals - make your own health a priority and get your mammograms. If I had not, I may not be here today.


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