Editor’s Note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is the second in a series of reader columns relating to breast cancer, offered as a reminder to readers to have regular check-ups.
It was toward the end of May 2007. My husband and I were getting ready to drive to Ohio for a family reunion.
I had had my annual physical and then a mammogram. I received a call from my internist’s nurse saying they had seen something in my right breast and I should call the surgeon to set up an appointment.
“But, can it wait till we get home from our trip?” I asked.
“No, it can’t,” the nurse said.
Then the surgeon’s office called me to come in that afternoon. He explained to us what they saw on the X-ray and said I should go to the Health Park the next morning where they would do a closer-look exam. Back in the surgeon’s office after the exam, he explained that the lump was as big as his small fingernail, and I could choose between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy.
Then he explained that with a lumpectomy I would need so many treatments of radiation and chemotherapy. I told him we were leaving on a trip.
“That’s OK, but when you get back you have to tell me what you choose to do,” he said.
The next day we left.
We didn’t talk about “IT.”
The second day out as we were driving along I said, “I decided on a mastectomy.”
My husband said, “I think you’re right.”
That night we stayed at a Sheraton Hotel in Lexington, Ky. We chose there because the hotel had a dining room. We were greeted by a pretty, young hostess.
“Pick a table,” she said.
There was no one else in the room. Soon she seated three more on the other side of the room. Then she took our drink order as her cocktail helper was busy in the bar. She also took our meal order because the waitress was called off. She disappeared.
A couple arrived, wondered what to do and saw us. As I was about to offer, “Choose a table,” but the hostess came and seated them.
The four of us happened to leave at the same time. The man asked my husband where we were from and we said Venice, Fla.
We asked where they were from and they told us Springfield, Ill.
“Where were you from before moving to Venice?”
“Ohio,” my husband said.
“Oh, we lived there too,” the other man said.
“Where in Ohio?” I asked.
“Youngstown,” he said.
“Did you happen to know Dr. Fred Friedrich?’ I asked. “Fred and Becky and we went to the same church.” (Becky was my cousin from Oakmont, Pa.)
“Fred and I did a lot of philanthropic work together,” she said. “I’m a surgical nurse.”
That’s all I needed to hear.
I told her my problem. We sat down in the lobby area and talked for about 15 minutes. She told me what to expect and different choices I could have. I felt more confident that I had made the right choice.
When we got home after the trip, I had the operation at 1 p.m. on a Monday. At 1 p.m. on Tuesday I was back home with a visiting nurse. I healed well.
I told my minister friend about meeting the couple who knew my cousin and her husband and her being a surgical nurse.
“That was God sending you an angel!” he replied.
I wanted to share this story because I know God did send me an angel.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have a story to share, send it to: email@example.com.