We Are Living Hope - Emily Carithers

Diagnosed: Age 67
Now: Age 70

“I am so thankful that my doctor insisted that I have a mammogram.”

Over a period of a few years, a mammogram found a lump in my left breast — three times. Each time, Wayne Frei, MD, performed surgery to remove the lump, and each time the lump was found to be non-cancerous. After that, my life became very busy and I didn’t have another mammogram until four years later, at Dr. Frei’s insistence. That’s the one that changed my life.

Emily CarithersDr. Frei called me and told me the mammogram had detected another small lump. He wanted to do a biopsy because the lump looked problematic. I remember thinking that I was lucky the first three times, but this time it looked like D-Day! And it was. After years of finding benign breast lumps, I was shocked when he told me this last one was malignant.

Support through a difficult time

He recommended that I have a mastectomy of my left breast in 2010. I was never a “boo-hoo” person who felt sorry for myself and I told him, “let’s get this taken care of because I’ve got some living to do!” My three children were very concerned, but I knew everything would be all right. I told them that they didn’t need to be worried about me.

The surgery went well and I was in the hospital for four days. When I came home, I experienced some discomfort but soon I was back to enjoying life again.

For the next two and half years, I was on several preventive cancer medications, but experienced difficult side effects with each one. So I stopped taking them completely. My husband, children and my lady friends from church were there for me the whole way.

I am very active in my church, and the support I received from my friends and my faith carried me through. Several of my friends have also been affected by breast cancer and we have always been there for each other. I feel it’s very important to have lady friends because no one understands a woman’s needs like another woman! During the times I was sick they would bring food and finally I told them to stop. My husband of 34 years is just as good a cook as I am — I taught him well! —and I didn’t want them to spend their time cooking for me! And they understood.

Today, three years later, I am cancer free! Praise the Lord. I am so thankful that my doctor insisted that I have that last mammogram! I continue to go every year to screen my remaining breast.

I would tell anyone who is battling breast cancer to hold on to your faith. Face your problems head on, stay active with things that make you happy and ask for God’s help along the way. It worked for me!

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