October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are dedicating our Fridays for the month of October to profiling fellow Breast Cancer Grads and Students.
Meet Breast Cancer Grad, Lisa Bair!
Name: Lisa Bair
Age at Enrollment: 38
Major: Stage1 Multifocal, Multicentric (Breast Cancer)
Symptoms you had experienced prior to diagnosis: During a self-examination, I felt a small lump in my left breast that felt like a Tiddlywink (small disk).
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor?: My family doctor believed that my "Tiddlywink" was just a cyst, but asked me to schedule a mammogram and ultrasound. After 3 hours at mammography, I had an idea something was not right. I was told that I needed a biopsy, and that they thought it was more than just a cyst. Luckily I was able to get in that afternoon with an amazing breast surgeon.
Courses Completed: Mastectomy of my left breast with flap reconstruction, chemo (Taxotere and Cytoxan), and 6 weeks of radiation.
What you’d like other women (and men) to know about Breast Cancer: Be aware of your body and self-examine. I know we hear that all of the time, but if I hadn't self-examined, then I may not have found it for another 2 years at what was supposed to be my 40 year-old mammogram.
Any helpful tips or tricks for other women or men navigating a diagnosis? Stay positive and surround yourself with positive people. People are going to have opinions, do what you feel comfortable. People also don't know what to say and often say the wrong thing, you might just have to laugh it off. The comments make for good stories with your friends.
Did you learn anything about yourself? I was a major control freak (still am a little). This diagnosis really showed me that we cannot control everything. It forced me to let go, and not get upset over the little things. It was a terrible year for me - emergency appendectomy, my mom passed away, and a cancer diagnosis all within 6 months. The biggest thing that I learned about myself, was that being a positive person really got me through it.