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by Bryan Moore


No Cancer

By Pat Romanich, Army

Writing Type: Prose

When I was 16, I had my first lumpectomy. (I’m not sure if that is what it is called or not, but it was done on the left breast.) Then, when I was 41 years old, I had a Iumpectomy on my right breast. My first two lumpectomies were not positive.

In July 1998, I had another mammogram. The doctors wanted to do a biopsy this time. There was a problem with my heart, and that delayed the procedure until October of the same year. My doctors found a cyst of about two millimeters, and it was pre-cancerous. In December, my doctors went back in to make sure they had gotten everything. There was no more there, but they wanted me to take radiation treatments as a precaution.

In January 1999, my son and I went to the UNM Hospital to find out about the treatment. It seems that I was 70% healthy and the radiation would only make me 20% better. The more I thought about the radiation, the more I thought I should go with the 70%. (Some people do get sick from the treatment.) The doctors said that if I did not take the radiation treatments, the affected area would have to be watched very closely. The last time I had a mammogram, they told me I could wait six months for the next one. Wow! That was good news!

For anyone who is afraid of a mammogram or just does not want to have one, please do so! It is most important that you have this procedure done after you are over the age of 40. Our own self-exams may not be good enough. I don’t really like to have mammograms, but they are about the best way the doctors can detect cancer. Or, if you are lucky, like I seem to be, they will find “no cancer.”

It is time for me to get off my soapbox now and tell you that I am a veteran who was proud to serve my country. I’m happy to have a VA Medical Center like the one we have here in Albuquerque. The staff is great, and we have the best of equipment at this excellent VA hospital.

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by Daniel Paicopulos


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