Listening to my body

Robert Santos

The following spring, the lump had become so painful that I insisted upon its removal. A few days after the surgery I drove myself to the hospital to have the stitches removed. That’s when my surgeon regretfully told me that they didn’t get the entire tumour and another surgery was necessary to remove more of the breast.

Tumour?  This was the first time the doctor had even uttered the word.

I clearly recall the river of tears that streamed down my cheeks on what seemed like an endless drive home.

My father was the first to receive the news that his 21-year-old-daughter had breast cancer. I had asked him to speak with my surgeon; I still hadn’t grasped the reality of what was really going on. I was dumbfounded that nobody had the decency to tell me the truth about my condition.

I began to realize that listening to my body and taking ownership of my health was crucial.