Pinktober May Be Over but NEVER Let Your Guard Down Be Your Own Breast Friend

Every year a Facebook friend, Patti Hughes re-posts a story I wrote about her dear friend, Patty Avery.  This year was no exception.  Pinktober may be over but never let your guard down – be your own breast friend.

I wrote Patty Avery’s story 4 years ago and it makes me cry every time I read it.  I cry for Patty and her family.  I cry for Patti Hughes who lost her dear friend.  I cry for every woman with breast cancer who was mis-diagnosed as Patty Avery  was , and I cry for everyone who still hears the words “You have breast cancer.”

Best Friends

Patti Hughes holding her daughter with Patty Avery

Patti is on the left with her daughter and Patty Avery of course is on the right.

On Tuesday, October 21, I opened my Facebook account and saw I had a message from Patti (with an “i”).  My heart sank into my gut as I read the message.

“I’m only sharing with a few right now but 2 weeks ago I had a mammo last week I had a diagnostic mammo and sonogram and today I had a needle biopsy and waiting for those results.”

I couldn’t even think for a long time.  I have known Patti for years.  Yet we have never met.  She has been so instrumental in raising awareness.  She has walked the 3-Day so many times and not only here in our great Tampa Bay area but in San Diego where the walk is hilly and beautiful.

She has crewed the walk too

I couldn’t find the right words.  You don’t flipping say “I am sorry” – I can tell you those are not the right words to say, even thought I was.  I turned to my husband and I cried.  I was pissed, totally pissed.  I cursed.  I wanted to punch something.

Finally this is what I wrote back:

“well (taking big deep breath and trying to wrap my head around this) what did they see? Microcalcifications? When did they say results would be in?”   I went “clinical” being my background of Oncological Nursing.

Then we had this exchange:

  • I should know by tomorrow. They were concerned because it wasn’t smooth it was spiky (root like) . No worries I can handle anything. I’m more concerned about what’s next, I’m a terrible planner. I just wanted you to know and hold on if this cancer I’m taking you for a ride on my journey. Xoxoxoxoxo

  • Carole Sanek
    Carole Sanek

    Honey I will be there with you every step of the way you know that.

  • Patti Hughes
    Patti Hughes

    then everything will be ok <3 promise I’m ok no matter what the results. Early detection right?

    I knew immediately I was going to write Patti’s journey because like me, Patti is a messenger.

    This is her story – her words about what she went through and I am thrilled to say she does not have breast cancer.

    So now for the rest of the story (thank you Paul Harvey) in Patti’s words:

    • 10/6/14 morning consult for breast reduction and afternoon mammogram
    • 10/7 call from doc at 9:00 am that needed sonogram and diagnostic mammogram
    • My heart dropped when I heard my doctor say this is Dr Peter Bridges.
    • 10/14 sono and mammo 10/15 meeting with breast doctor.
    She told me that something was there on the right side close to my armpit about 1 cm.  I had ringing in my ears and a headache for the entire day.
    On 10/20 I was scheduled for a stereotactic breast biopsy . I went into a surgery center .
    I walked into what looked like a very clean doctors office with a huge white machine in it. The table was pleather and cushioned with a big hole where my head should go. The hole was larger than a basketball. That’s where my breast went. An under-the-table mammogram machine took a hold of my breast as the nurse guided it in so the could see the 1 centimeter culprit . I felt a slight sting and then a little ache. My doc said the ache wasn’t ok and numbed it more. Then all was good. It took maybe 5-10 minutes and the nurse was easing my breast out of the machine and I was sitting getting a elastic type tube put on me. Then I waited.
    post biopsy
    I have a great support system , I’m lucky but the last 4 days of waiting sucked. Then today oct 24th I get a call “it’s benign” I repeated it back to her benign? As my voice cracked. She said yes have a fantastic weekend I called my husband Tim and I started to cry. So now I have a appointment with a Reiki Master. Super excited to live my life cancer free.
    I asked Patti to tell me just how many times she has put herself out there for women and me over the years because she is a dedicated breast cancer fundraising volunteer and this is what she told me:

    3 day walked 09,10,11 in Tampa , motorcycle route safety 2012 bicycle route safety 2013. Walked the 3 Day San Diego 2013. Cheered DC 2013. Sgk 5k every year either volunteered or participated and I won’t stop.

    I decorated my golf cart for the Christmas parade in Sun City Center.  All I want for Christmas is a cure!

    Patti that’s all that we want too.  Color me a lovely shade of rosy pink that you got great news!

    Every year I know Patti will re-post my blog and every year I will cry – I wish I had known Patty Avery.

    Patty Avery (L) and Patti Hughes (R)

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