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My sister, Suzanne, is a breast cancer survivor - Thank God!  Her daughter, Stephanie, sent me a story that was published today in the Enid News.  I think you will love it!

Frozen, gripped in fear. Does anyone feel differently when the diagnosis is cancer?

In March 1996, I called to request a mammogram, informing the unknown person on the other end that I felt something "unusual," and it had reminded me of the overdue mammogram I had let slide for two years. (After all, no breast cancer ran in my family. Secondly, I'd read women who breast fed their babies were at less risk for breast cancer. Three children had been recipients. These factors surely put me in the safe zone).

My appointment was scheduled immediately. It was something I said that precipitated a "we want to see you right away" response.

Following the initial set of pictures, a caring healthcare giver came to me as I waited for the OK to go and said a few more views were needed. I thought little about that request. It was just a second look. I again waited. I soon would be on my way.

The door opened and the clinic doctor sat down near me and said she was seeing something she wanted to ultrasound. I consented. During that procedure a breast cancer surgeon was summoned to state his opinion, as well.

A biopsy was necessary, and it could be performed that day. I became frantic and summoned my sister Candace from the waiting room. (She was aware something was not good). I needed her.

My mind was confused. My whole body was in panic mode. "I can't do it today," I told all of them. I had to get home. I had to think. No words comforted or calmed me. My repeated response was "no one in my family survives cancer."

The next several days were rough. I had to tell my children, other family and friends. All were kind and compassionate, yet no one knew the fear stirring within me. I could not make the call to schedule the biopsy.

It was a friend, Helen Smith, who persistently came to me with gentle persuasion until I called.

The 24-hour waiting period following the biopsy was excruciating. I was alone.

The call came. The doctor gently confirmed I had breast cancer.

It was a process of decisions with the surgeon, oncologist and radiologist. The early diagnosis was in my favor. A lumpectomy was the option I chose, followed by radiation and five years of Tamoxafen.

The Lord was beside me all the way. His strength was mine. I depended heavily on His presence. I'm so grateful.

I'm a 15 year cancer survivor.

Suzanne Parrish, Enid

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