Connie V.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink

It all started in 1989 when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at an early age. Since then I would have a mammogram yearly due to having radiation from my previous cancer. I had been putting off my mammogram in 2014 and encountered issues with my insurance. By the time it was fixed it was Feb. 2015 and off to the dreaded exam. I went in that day thinking I’m dreading the “smashing the boob like a pancake” and came out with “I’m sorry we are going to need to perform a biopsy so we can confirm a spot we see”. That was the worst news one wants to hear but it was even worse to hear “ I am 99.9% sure the spot is cancer” after having the biopsy. Feb. 6 will be a day I will never forget. On Feb. 13 my oncologist confirmed it was Breast Cancer (IDC & DCIS). I was devastated and saw my life crumbling before my eyes. The next 2 months went by so fast with deciding what type of treatment (I had a choice of implants or mastectomy), researching all of my options, meeting the team of Doctors to all different type of testing prior to surgery. Exactly 2 months later on April 6 I checked into MD Anderson in Houston to save my life. I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction doing the DIEP Flap method. God was with me when I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy because I was told there was cancer on the other side that was undetected in the mammogram. My surgery was 14 hours and a long road to recovery. I wouldn’t have been able to get through this journey without my family. My husband was my rock and caregiver which I now call “Dr.” even though he never received a degree. LOL. My daughter was away at college at the time but would call every day multiple times a day just to chat. Whether she knows it or not that was therapy for my soul. The rest of my family and friends were always there and continue to be there 4 years later. Even though I have recovered from my surgery but survivors never recovery. I have to take a pill for the next 5-10 years which has its own side effects that can be very debilitating. I will gladly take that pill if it means it will continue to give me the gift of life.

My message to all women.. Please take a few hours from your day once a year to have your mammogram. It will save your life.

-Connie V.