Meet Tammy. Please read Tammy’s story in her own words below.
In December 2009, I had my regular scheduled mammogram. Shortly after, I got a call that it was abnormal. They stated that I would need to come back in for a repeat mammogram and also a sonogram. After the sonogram I was told I had some Micro Calcification to which I asked, ”what causes that?’ and she said, “coffee.” I giggled and said ”guilty!”
Later that evening I was doing some research and realized that Micro Calcification could be cancer! The next day I called the radiologist who told me that she could not say I did have cancer nor could she say I didn’t have cancer. On a scale from 1-10 I was a 3 and it was usually 5 before she sent you for a biopsy. She told me if I could not sleep at night because of the uncertainty, she would send me for a biopsy. While characteristically not a worrier, I said “yes, I want to go.”
Went in for a biopsy and on February 3, while getting ready to leave the house, I got “the” phone call. The lady identified herself as someone from the hospital and then she said “we have your test results and you do have breast cancer.” To which I responded “ok, thank you.” I stood there in shock and then had to keep a normal face as I was leaving the house with my daughter (12) and her friend.
We went to a local book store to pick up a book for my daughter and found a book on breast cancer. As it would turn out the lady that owned the store said ”oh, that is a great book! Do you have breast cancer?” I began to cry and said “yes, as I apologized for crying.” She came around the counter hugged me and said “its gonna be ok, I am a survivor and you will be ok!” Stella became my new best friend!! No-one else knew because I didn’t want to say anything until I shared it with my husband when he got home from work. I was afraid for my kids to know because I didn’t know how it would affect them. I also had a son that was 15 and a freshman in high school.
My cancer was stage 1, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. I spent every hour researching constantly and decided that I wanted to get the cancer removed and be done! I chose to have a Bi-lateral Mastectomy with Latissimus Flap reconstruction. Four days before my surgery I had second opinion to make sure I was doing the right thing. The doctor did another biopsy on the other side that also had calcification but it was fine. She knew my surgeon as he had operated on her mom, she said she loved him and if she ever needed anything he was her guy!
March 3, 2010, exactly 1 month after “The” phone call I underwent a 7-8 hour surgery to remove the tumors and then reconstruction. As it turns out there were 3 additional tumors on the one side. Healing was a slow process, I was surrounded by family and friends that made it much easier!! I had to go through some PT and was put on Tamoxifen for 5 years. I did not have Chemo or Radiation and have been cancer free for 4 years.
Years later, the lady working at the bookstore remains a lifelong friend. This connection was the support she needed and at just the right time, an angel who Tammy connected with and needed in her life.
Emotional Support is Crucial
Support is important for so many reasons. The emotional connections that humans make are critical to function for everyday life. The emotional connection that Tammy made with this complete stranger during such a vulnerable moment is something that developed into a lifelong relationship that she’ll never under appreciate.
Thank you Tammy for sharing your story with us.
We are so grateful to be able to share your story and you are an inspiration to us all.
Cheers to being cancer free for 4 years and we will be rooting for cancer free for life!
Stay tuned for our weekly October promotion highlighting Tammy at the Blow Bar Dry Bar who is offering a special for the month of October for breast cancer fighters and survivors in the Nashville, TN area.