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Breast
Cancer
Survivors
Muriel Landais
Muriel
Landais is
a 46-year-
old French
homemaker
and mother
of two
children. She
discovered
her cancer
when they
returned from
vacation last
February and
accidentally
felt a lump in
her breast. She says: “The next day I called to
see Dr. Houriya Kazim
who had been recommended to me by a friend
doctor. Fortunately, I was able to see her the
very same day and she did a mammogram
and scan the following day. After two days,
the first exams showed a lump. The next step
was a biopsy, done the week after. Dr. Houriya
called me at home two days after, around
6 pm, to tell me that it was cancer. When I
heard this, I felt my world falling apart. My
first thoughts went to my two daughters who
are too young for me do die, and also to my
mum, who had been diagnosed with cancer at
the same age and who died two years later. My
husband was travelling that day but fortunately
I had a very dear friend of mine visiting from
Switzerland. We first cried together before
starting to talk over it. Dr. Houriya was very
reassuring and pragmatic when she called
me that day. She told me what kind of cancer
I had, how big it was and that I had good
chances of recovering, she also explained what
would be the next steps to see if the cancer had
spread. Luckily the breast cancer was limited
only to my breast and there were also good
chances that it hadn’t spread to the lymph.
The first three weeks of not knowing exactly
what I had were the hardest. I first underwent
lumpectomy (removal of the lump only), then
I had chemotherapy until July. I have been
quite positive I would be cured, even though
sometimes doubts came due to my fear.
When it would happen, I always looked at the
positive things: how well breast cancer is now
cured, and how fortunate I was, compared
with my mum who 25 years ago didn’t have
all the technology that I benefited from. I had
three months of chemotherapy and I chose to
have bilateral mastectomy because with the
gene mutation that I have (BRAC1) I had very
high chance to develop a new cancer in the
other breast within two years. Now my risks
are extremely low and the follow-up will be
‘light.’ My advice to other women is to take
professional advice on how to check yourself
and do it regularly.”
WITH OCTOBER BEING BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
MONTH,
HEALTH
MET WITH THREE REAL LIFE BREAST
CANCER SURVIVORS WHO NARRATED THEIR HEROIC
TALES OF SURVIVAL AND HOW THEY COPED.
18
Oct/Nov 2013