Breast cancer: Diagnosis
October 11th, 2010
10:37 AM ET

Breast cancer: Diagnosis

For the next five days, Amanda Enayati will share the milestones of a life-altering journey that began the day she learned she had late-stage breast cancer more than three years ago.

I had felt something in my breast for more than a year before I decided to get it checked out. I never in a million years imagined it was cancer. I had been either pregnant or nursing continuously for almost four years straight. I thought what I was feeling was a clogged milk duct.

I have no family history of breast cancer.

I have no risk factors for breast cancer.

I don’t drink.

I don’t smoke.

I was always the healthiest person in the room.

I think I still am.

Except for the cancer.

The Indian woman who did the mammogram looked at her screen and said: “Don’t worry! I don’t see anything!” I wasn’t worried.

The attending doctor said: “Well, I don’t see anything but I definitely feel whatever this is you’re feeling. Let’s do an ultrasound.”

She did an ultrasound and a fine needle biopsy on the spot. That should have tipped me off. It didn’t.

I hadn’t gotten a call with the results by that Friday as they promised. Should have tipped me off, but it didn’t.

Same thing on Monday.

On Tuesday I finally called. “A doctor will call you back,” they told me. I still wasn’t worried.

An hour later, the phone rang. It was the doctor. She skipped the niceties and got right to it: “It’s cancer.”

I swear time stopped.

I stopped breathing.

The walls collapsed in on me.

All I could hear was my heart pounding.

I called my husband at work: “You better come home.”

I called my brother in LA: “It’s cancer and I can’t tell Maman. You have to call her. I can’t do it.” I can’t even imagine what was going on at my parents’ house that night.

I lost 10 pounds that first week. I don’t think I slept more than a couple hours a night. I started praying to a God I had been angry with for about a decade.

I lost my right breast.

The tumor was 9 centimeters, which, as far as breast cancers go, is massive.

It had spread to two lymph nodes. That’s not a good thing.

I’m at high risk for recurrence, and will be for the rest of my life.

A handful of people I had befriended who were going through treatment at the same time as me have already died.

As far as I know, I’m okay.

I think I’m going to be okay.

I have good reason to believe I will be okay.

I’m the eternal optimist.

What if I’m wrong?

Tomorrow:  Surgery

Amanda Enayati’s work has appeared in Salon, the Washington Post, Detroit News, and "Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora" (University of Arkansas Press). You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaEnayati or her daily blog, practicalmagicforbeginners.com.

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Filed under: Cancer

soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. thinkin before pinkin

    i get it people. every month has a certain cancer awareness to it. every cancer has it's own color ribbon (except lung cancer, which for some reason is "clear"). there are very good reasons why breast cancer gets so much attention and some very very bad ones as well. i, personally cannot stand pinkwashing. men make up less than 1% of the breast cancer population. mortality comparison of prostate to breast is not equal. don't be jealous about the pink boobie awareness movement. ever notice: no one is trying to save lives. they are saving 2nd base. saving the ta-tas. saving the body part that men love on us. we could try to raise awareness for prostate cancer by roasting chestnuts but what clever gimmick would you put on the shirt? what color would the awareness tictacs be? the vast majority of $$$$$ made with pink washed items goes right back in the companies that hawk it. money is made with awareness ir with treatment. there is no money in prevention or cure. hell, i'm a cancer research nurse and even i would be out of a job!

    October 17, 2010 at 01:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. BillKist

    I was DX'd with rectal caner March 2010. By the end of 6 weeks of chemo radiation they had told me it spread to my lungs...6 weeks later I went from 6-8 tumors in my lungs to close to 90. I have been told I am terminal. I ended treatment. Chemo is big bucks and it's poison..serious poison. I was given 5fu. They say I have 12-16 months. The Dr's are surprised and a tad miffed I ended treatment. I have a strong suspicion I won't be here for my next birthday in june. If you have a cure..email me. I am easily found. Google my nick.

    October 17, 2010 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. letemsquirm

    if an B cup or less it can't be cancer!

    October 17, 2010 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Anna Resendiz

    Thanks for sharing Amanda and everyone else. I was given your site on facebook. My mother found a lump and had me touch it before she went off for surgery and had a radical mastectomy...that was in 1966, she couldn't go to my Junior High graduation. I am now a mother of five and breastfed as long as I could to help prevent breastcancer. I was pregnant and nursing for over twenty years....each baby three years. So far so good. But your sharing makes me realise that there is no real guarantee. With that I want to make more of each day. Don't you wonder why the world is suffering so. A hundred years ago no one would have believed that so many woman would be removing a breast or two. I have been borderline for cervical cancer and dread every pap I have each year. So far nothing. The crio they did, the freezing of the area, seemed to work. I understand BillKist, I think I might do the same if I knew my time was short....I was doing Spirulina shakes every morning to get the blue green algae in my system daily. It got expensive. Now I do a table spoon of tumeric a day. I head about that from a Psychiatrist who has survived brain cancer...the guy mentioned above with Jennifer. Green tea and tumeric...try to stick to cultured yogurt. Must get my weight down though. I like to eat at night. I need to exercise every morning and afternoon. Not totally commited to that lately. I wish everyone wellness. Peace. Anna

    October 17, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. irene musonda

    Those who have be interested in supernatural healing, please go to 'www.enterthehealingschool.com'.
    See what you think.

    October 17, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nick

    just read this part " I started praying to a God I had been angry with for about a decade."..most of the time when someone has a physical ailment there is some psychological history associated with it. What had been bothering this woman mentally that kind of manifested itself into a 9 centimeter tumor? (that is maybe on average 1cm per year) It is really important to forget and forgive, you end my hurting yourself when you carry such resentment with you for a decade about some incident, whereas the person or thing that caused it moves on. There are several books that talk about how your emotional state affects physical health. if you suffer from something like this, please look around for good books on the topic.

    October 17, 2010 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Annelies

      Amazing – here somebody bares her soul, speaks openly about her battle with a very scary disease and inadvertently there are people who will "blame the victim", imply "it is your fault". I was told – if you would have had a mammogram sooner! Meanwhile my tumor was in the 6 o'clock position and would not have been picked up by a mammogram. I found it! Then I lost my job of 15 years because I have extensive chemo damage – is that my fault too? A fair amount of tumors are not picked up by a mammogram. Whose fault is that? And insurance companies don't want to pay for routine MRI's. Whose fault is that? There are people out there who have a need to ad insult to injury and they know who they are. We need to raise social consciousness.

      October 17, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  7. val

    I very sorry about your situation, i wish i knew a way to make this monster disease go away. I wish you a wonderful birthday in advance and I will certainly keep you in my prayer.

    October 17, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. gordonr

    The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an attention of every one. This is the concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as possible

    National Savings And Investments

    October 24, 2010 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. klitzel

    We are all aware that cancer has become a vary common health issue, and any prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer shoud be taken advantage of. Mammograms can possibly detect the cancer that is not visible on the outside such as lumps or the skin changing. Mammograms save 1100 to 2000 lives a year because of early detection. These lives saved means families don't have to lose loved ones and go through the pain and heart aches unlucky families have to endure. 20 min of your life to get a mammogram could save a life...it is worth it.

    October 24, 2010 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeanne Harris

      Get a skilled statistician to help you read the numbers. Breast cancer still kills the same percentage of women it did in 1910 and at the same rate. Early detection just means it is identified earlier, women seem to live longer, but only because they are diagnosed earlier. Do the math. Chemotherapy just accelerates the process. No, we are not winning the "war" on breast cancer, we are abdicating it.

      October 24, 2010 at 23:51 | Report abuse |
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  11. Mindy B

    What's up?

    I found this article very interesting...please read!

    Do you remember the blockbuster hit film The Matrix that was released in 1999? You may not know this, but it has deep spiritual implications concerning the times we are living in and Bible prophecy.

    It tells a story of how these "agents" are trying to turn us into machines. We are closer then ever before for this to become a reality when they cause us to receive an implantable microchip in our body during a time when physical money will be no more.

    You may have seen on NBC news concerning the implantable RFID microchip that some people are getting put in their hand to make purchases, but did you know this microchip matches perfectly with prophecy in the Bible?

    "He (the false prophet who deceives many by his miracles) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name...

    You also may have heard of the legendary number "666" that people have been speculating for possibly thousands of years on what it actually means. This article shares something I haven't seen before, and I don't think there could be any better explanation for what it means to calculate 666. This is no hoax. Very fascinating stuff!

    ...Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666" (Revelation 13:16-18 NKJV).

    To see all the details showing why the Bible foretold of all these things, check out this article!

    Article: https://biblewoke.com/rfid-mark-of-the-beast-666-revealed

    GOD is sending out His end time warning:

    "Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name'" (Revelation 14:9-11).

    In the Islamic religion they have man called the Mahdi who is known as their messiah of whom they are waiting to take the stage. There are many testimonies from people online who believe this man will be Barack Obama who is to be the biblical Antichrist based off dreams they have received. I myself have had strange dreams about him like no other person. So much so that I decided to share this information.

    He came on stage claiming to be a Christian with no affiliation to the Muslim faith...

    "In our lives, Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith. But there have been times where my faith has been questioned - by people who don't know me - or they've said that I adhere to a different religion, as if that were somehow a bad thing," – Barack Obama

    ...but was later revealed by his own family members that he indeed is a devout Muslim.

    So what's in the name? The meaning of someones name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface...

    "And He (Jesus) said to them (His disciples), 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'" (Luke 10:18).

    In the Hebrew language we can uncover the meaning behind the name Barack Obama.

    Barack, also transliterated as Baraq, in Hebrew is: lightning

    baraq – Biblical definition:

    From Strongs H1299; lightning; by analogy a gleam; concretely a flashing sword: – bright, glitter (-ing, sword), lightning. (Strongs Hebrew word H1300 baraq baw-rawk')

    Barak 'O'bamah, The use of bamah is used to refer to the "heights" of Heaven.

    bamah – Biblical definition:

    From an unused root (meaning to be high); an elevation: – height, high place, wave. (Strongs Hebrew word H1116 bamah baw-maw')

    The day following the election of Barack Obama (11/04/08), the winning pick 3 lotto numbers in Illinois (Obama's home state) for 11/5/08 were 666.

    Obama was a U.S. senator for Illinois, and his zip code was 60606.

    Seek Jesus while He may be found...repent, confess and forsake your sins and trust in the savior! Jesus says we must be born again by His Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God...God bless!


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