Jodi Del Vecchio, a resident of Stamford, earlier this year marked the five-year anniversary of her second masectomy. She shared her story with Daily Voice.
STAMFORD, Conn. -- For all of you that don’t know, here is my story
We all know someone -- a mother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor -- who has faced breast cancer. I know that I do. It is a horrible disease, but there is hope!
An aunt on my mother’s side was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. Her surgeon, Dr. Michelle Blackwood (who is my friend to this day), said to me out of the blue ‘Jodi, you need to get a mammogram. I said oh I can’t. ... I’m between jobs and don’t have insurance right now, I’m too young for that, I’m only 32.’”
I was trying to make every excuse I could to her. Except the real one that I was scared. She said October is breast cancer awareness month and there are places where you can get a free mammogram, AND YOU’RE NOT TOO YOUNG to have cancer!
After about a month of procrastinating, I faced the fact that I finally needed to get a mammogram. At that time I was fine.
I went every year from then on. In 2005 after a so called “suspicious” mammogram – I was given an ultrasound, MRI and then a biopsy on the right breast. I ended up having surgery for these so called “suspicious cells." Every year, the same thing. More breast tissue was taken each time for three years.
In 2008 my life was changed forever by the 2 words. “It’s cancer.”
Those two words turn your world upside down. You think "OMG, Am I going to die am I going to be disfigured. Why me?"
After having a mastectomy with radiation and reconstructive surgery, I thought I was in the clear. But yet again in 2010 I had “suspicious cells” in the left breast. I was then diagnosed with cancer in the other breast. I kind of lost it at that point. Not again, I thought.
I went through shock, denial, woe-is-me and strangely enough now, gratitude. Especially to my surgeon, Dr. Blackwood, who encouraged early detection. So after about 15 surgeries I am here today tell you about I am a survivor.
Cancer did not stop there. In 2010 and 2011, my mother and another aunt were also diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother is a trouper, and went through chemo. She is now cancer free. She also had the genetic testing done and it was negative.
In May of 2012, my Aunt Lorraine passed due to this horrible disease because she didn’t understand about early detection and didn’t go for mammograms. She was in denial, and she waited too long.
Unfortunately, the circle grows larger every day with friends, families and loved ones who are stricken by breast cancer.
Please, I can’t stress enough to do self detection and get your mammograms especially if there is a family history.
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