Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in My Breast Cancer Journey | 2 comments

Diagnosis – Breast Cancer!


In March 1999, I was visiting my daughter and granddaughters in Nashville and had just gotten the kids tucked in bed.  I decided to go to bed myself and was trying to determine how to position my left arm as I lay on my left side.  Hang it off the bed or bend it up over my chest???  My fingertips gently brushed over the right side of my right breast and I felt a different-feeling lump.  What’s this??  I examined it more closely and just knew it was not a good thing.  I prayed, “Lord, I hand this right over to You because I believe it is bigger than I can handle on my own. May your Holy Spirit be in charge!”  Without telling my daughter about my discovery, the next day I drove home to NC and saw my doctor in two days.

“It does seem suspicious, Pat.  Let’s get a mammogram and an ultrasound.”  Seeing the ultrasound, I was sent to a surgeon who said he wanted to get a biopsy. Two days later, I ended up having a quadrantectomy because the tumor was so large.  The surgeon came in and said, “Well, it is malignant so I want to see you in my office tomorrow and we’ll discuss your options.”  I left thinking, “options??  I want it OFF!”

Within a week I had a mastectomy, met my oncologist and learned I would need chemotherapy and that my chances of survival were 70% to live 5 years.  I remember thinking, “Oh, wow!  70% chance of living 5 years…just 5 years?”

My daughter and two granddaughters came to NC from Nashville to help me after the mastectomy.  The girls were 6 & 10 yrs. old.  They asked, “Grandma, can we see your scar?”  I told them yes and that it looked really ugly right then, but that it would look much, much better.  There they stood with their little faces pressed practically at my chest as I opened my PJ top.  I saw their serious little faces and they simultaneously said, “WOW!”  It was a shock for them.

I had always been well endowed and the 10 yr old, looking at my new one-breasted chest asked, “Grandma, will they remove the other one?”  I told her they may but that it would be later.  Then, the most precious thing happened.  As the two of them left my bedroom, the 6 yr old stopped, with her hand on one hip and twinkles in her eyes looked at me and said, “Well, just think, Grandma, if they do, YOU WILL BE JUST LIKE US!!”

I needed that perspective.  Thank you, God!  Children DO have a way of bringing a fresh, new perspective to things.

About 10 days after starting my chemotherapy, my hair began to fall out.  I wasn’t really too focused on the loss of hair.  My focus was on saving my life, or as much of it as possible. The hair on the top of my head fell out first in globs.  As I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could think about was Bozo the Clown.  Nothing on top and plenty around the sides and back.  So my 6 year old granddaughter and I went to the salon.  She held my hand as the stylist buzzed the rest away.  That little 6 year old child was a precious, young living example of LOVING someone through adversity.  When we got home, I put a ball cap on…always wanted to wear caps but I never looked good in them.  The funniest thing came next.  I was outside with my son-in-law who was cleaning some brush away from my fence and my 10 year old granddaughter quickly ran inside to her mother.  “Mom, can I go have my hair cut like Grandma’s?”  Mom decided she better say no because once it was done it would take a long time to grow back out.  But very quickly, we saw that this was a real family event.  Family is so important.



  1. 11-19-2011

    Pat..this is wonderful. What an inspiration you are. I don’t know that I could, or would be so brave smack in the face of this kind of debilitating adversity.
    I am really enjoying your blog and your gorgeous photos.
    This is your biography..print it up as a treasured gift to your grandchildren.

    • 11-19-2011

      Oh, thank you so much. You know that God gets us through whatever we are presented. I surely felt His love and guidance through it all. And I am so glad you are enjoying reading and viewing. Come back often, please.

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