Friday, December 19, 2014

Vonnie Black

  • Chambersburg
  • Retired Certified Nurse Assistant
  • No family history of breast cancer

I had worked for Lutheran Home Care for 20 years. So, I knew how important it was to take care of your health. I knew that getting a screening mammogram was a part of that. I began getting my mammograms around the age of 40, and I went every year. In 2005, I went to Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center for my yearly mammogram. It went smoothly, just like every other year. But this time, when I got home, I received a phone call from the technologists who asked me to come back.

They saw something on the mammogram.

I hadn’t told anyone about the suspicious mark on my mammogram. I didn’t even tell anyone that I needed to have a biopsy. No one knew until one afternoon, when I was making candy in my kitchen with one of my daughters. I had just had my biopsy done. The doctor’s office called to tell me the news, and from the look on my face, my daughter knew something was wrong. I couldn’t hide it anymore. I still didn’t really want to talk about it, but I told my husband what was happening, and then told my other two children.

After my surgery, the doctors told me that my cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, which was an answer to my prayers. I didn’t need to have chemotherapy, but I did need to have radiation therapy. So, I made my appointments, and I started to battle breast cancer. It has almost been 10 years since my diagnosis – and I’m still getting my mammogram every year.

Do you have advice for other women?

Get your mammograms. My daughter Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer less than 2 years after me. A mammogram found her cancer, and so it saved her life too. It’s not a myth, it’s a fact. Just do it.

Some people have excuses about making their appointment. ‘It hurts me,’ they say. Everyone is different and has different experiences.

My reality – it only hurts a little bit. But, I can do anything for a little bit. Get your mammogram.