Charla Clicquot, Survivor
Circa 2009, my husband is in Qatar for several months and my doctor says your mammogram shows some things we had not seen before on your left breast requiring a biopsy. Stricken with worry, I don’t have my husband here and I don’t want to worry our children who are 18, 17 and 12 at the time. Praise God the calcifications were benign.
Fast forward to 2012 another mystery spot in my left breast but different location that required a “core-needle” biopsy…again, benign! Two scars, one marker inside, a left breast that is lumpy and full of scar tissue, and I’m still here! Now I’m checking and rechecking and advocating for others to do the same.
Early February 2014 I started noticing my left breast was sore like I had worn a bad bra all day. My husband is worried and insists that I see my doctor, which I finally was able to get about a month later. A week later my mammogram is finally here and Carl just gives me a kiss as I prepare to head back. “Only positive thoughts,” he says. One more set of film was taken on the right side and then it was time to find out what was going on. My doctor said, “You will want to bring your husband back now.”
I said a little prayer, “Lord keep me calm”, throughout the last nine years they never found anything worrisome in my right breast, well that all changed today May 27, 2014. There were three spots never before seen that needed to be biopsied, my heart sank, and this was a real shocker. Oh, just as a footnote he, the Radiologist said, “Charla, Breast Cancer is generally not associated with pain” and suggested that I see my previous breast surgeon, as maybe there’s been a change in the scar tissue in my left breast. . . in the meantime, right biopsy in a week. “Charla, unfortunately its Cancer, Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS),” says the doctor. No cancer is good BUT, this is the best type to have if you’re going to get breast cancer as it’s highly treatable with a 90 percent success rate. “Okay Lord, we are going to have to work something out,” I said. I was in disbelief and partly because I knew I was in the fight!
Once again, the doctor said “breast cancer is not generally associated with pain.” I let her know, we’ve been told this three times over now, BUT something isn’t right. Another biopsy of my left breast revealed I was positive for Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). Based on the MRI results its Stage 3, borderline stage 4 and the Lymph nodes are enlarged. She said I would need to have another biopsy to see if cancer exists. She kept asking if I understood what she was telling me. I think she lost me when she said, if the lymph nodes are affected as well the survival rate is reduced significantly, by 70 percent . . . leaving my husband and children is not an option! Lord how am I going to tell this man, the love of my life, the father of my children, it just got really real. I just came in, laid my head on his chest while he napped, until he was awaken by my tears soaking his shirt. . . We’re in this together, this fight is ours!
The protocol is set five and a half months of Chemo to start on Tuesday July 1st, as in two days before my 49th birthday . . . no perfect margarita for me. I’m so tired of all this, the pain is unlike no other and now it’s the last three days of radiation and all I can do is cry. . . I don’t want to go, Lord please give me the strength.
From the first diagnosis to the 2nd diagnosis and everything from then on there were some factors that remained the same for myself, my husband and our family: Our faith; Our love; and an assignment from God to tell my story so that I can help others. Lord I thank you for using me, this battle has been long and hard fought, You would never give me more than I could handle and I will continue all my days to stay strong in the fight, through this journey. I am a victorious survivor through Your grace and mercy!
One year later I’m fifty, fabulous and cancer free!!! Thank you Jesus!