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The diagnosis left me in shock. In fact, it felt like a surreal out of body experience.
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My soapy hand grazed over the underside of my left breast and there it was. The dreaded lump. And it was big -- just a wee bit smaller than a golf ball. How the hell did I not notice that before? I poked and prodded at it as if that would make it go away. I swallowed my panic. It can't be cancer, I told myself. It's just a cyst. It's fine. I just had a clear mammogram four months earlier for God's sake.
I can't remember a time when breast cancer didn't cast a shadow over my life. For more than three decades it has been a constant, unwanted and unwelcome companion. When I was 14, my mother passed away from breast cancer. She was 39 years old. Prior to that, the disease took her older sister at the age of 42.
I'm not sure why I was shocked when I was diagnosed in 2002, in my thirties.
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