It was the beginning of March 2010 when Rhonda Chieduch-Klassen a 41 year old, separated, mother of 2 first realized something was different. Rhonda has fibrocystic breast disease, this causes the fat cells in her breast to clump and harden. These lumps will later break up and disappear they can sometimes be painful but caused no severe problems. This time Rhonda noticed the lump was larger and more painful and was not going away, as the pain increased Rhonda decided it was time to go to her doctor for a breast examine. She decided not to tell her friends and family until she knew more.
When her doctor in Beaver Lodge, Alberta examined Rhonda he was reluctant to do anything based on her history and age as the risk of breast cancer increases after the age of 45. She explained about her family history of breast cancer and he immediately booked her for a mammogram (a special x-ray of the breast). Rhonda's concern was growing and decided to tell her family what she was going through. A few days later when she attended the mammogram appointment, they decided to send her for a breast ultra sound as well.
Once the radiologist reviewed these results, he sent Rhonda for a biopsy of her breast. Everything was moving so fast, all within hours the Doctor's were taking samples of the lump Rhonda have found just days earlier. They gave Rhonda a local freezing for the biopsy and inserted a special needle to extract a sample from the lump. She was then told it would take a week to 10 days to get pathology results.
Over the next few days Rhonda became scared, she felt alone and began to ask the question everyone asks when faced with troubled times…"Why me!". Rhonda's family attempted to console her, with no avail. Rhonda has lived a very troubled life when it came to medical problems. She has dealt with many injuries and different illnesses that would make most of us retreat to our rooms and never to leave, yet this one terrified her.
Rhonda made it through the weekend, scared of what she may face in the coming days, weeks, and months, and only hoping she would have years. Feeling ill Rhonda returned to her doctor early in the week, only to find out he had results from her biopsy a mere 4 or 5 days after the procedure, not 10 days as she was told.
During this appointment doctor informed Rhonda that she did indeed have breast cancer and he would be booking her for a surgical consult and refer her to Oncology (cancer specialists). He also voiced his concern that she had one of the biggest lumps he had ever seen. Everything was moving very fast and Rhonda barely had the time to catch her breath. She left the doctor's office in shock, and returned home to inform her love ones about the battle she would be facing.
There were so many emotions that Rhonda was about to go through, she had to tell her soon to be ex-husband, her parents, siblings, friends, and then her two children both under 10 years old. Rhonda has a strong family history of various cancers, she lost her grandmother to breast cancer only 16 months ago and just found out her father has leukemia. She feared for her life and for her children, Rhonda decided she would take the challenge she faced and fight as hard as she could to win this battle. Please join me in following Rhonda through the next year of her life and her battle with breast cancer in the series of articles I will write following her through her treatment.