Breast Cancer Survivor

Photo of Linda – Breast Cancer Survivor

I'm Traci and I recently learned I have breast cancer. Only three years ago, my mother, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I'm only 45 years old and it was a little strange at first to have the same diagnosis as my mom.

I first found out I had a problem when I went in for my annual mammogram and got a call to come back. I wasn't worried because I've been called back before. I know there are areas on my mammograms that are sometimes hard to read. So I wasn't too concerned.

But this time they also did an ultrasound and asked me to wait for the results. I was surprised when they came out and asked me to make an appointment for a biopsy. This was done a few days later and it showed I had cancer.

It was upsetting to get that phone call, even though the nurse was the nicest, most reassuring, person in the world. I already knew that I wanted to receive my treatment at Virginia Mason. I told the nurse I wanted the same surgeon, oncologist and radiologist who had treated my mom. Later that day, she called back to confirm that these would be the doctors handling my case.

“I am so comfortable with getting my surgery and follow-up care at Virginia Mason.”

My first meeting with them was really good. I was impressed by the way they addressed my concerns and that they made a tape recording of our meeting. I didn't need to worry about remembering everything that was said. When you're dealing with cancer, it can be hard to stay focused on the information you're getting. The tape recording told me that they were looking at things from a patient's point of view.

Because there's a history of cancer in my family, it was suggested that I see Virginia Mason's genetic counselor. My mom went with me and was able to fill in a lot of the information I didn't have. I learned that there is cancer on both sides of my family, and that I probably have a genetic predisposition for it.

I'm a surgery scheduler for another medical center and one more thing I liked about Virginia Mason was that the schedulers made sure my appointments were at times that were the least disruptive to my work.

As I write this, my diagnosis is so new that I haven't yet had surgery. But thanks to my meetings with the people who will be taking care of me, I know that the lumpectomy will take about two hours in the morning and then I will be able to go home that same afternoon.

I am so comfortable with getting my surgery and follow-up care at Virginia Mason. I know that I will go in for my operation, return home and get back to normal. I consider myself lucky.