Schelly Tennant Marlatt
For as long as I can remember, I was well aware of breast cancer and the effects it has on those you love. My paternal grandmother had been diagnosed in 1973 with a recurrence in 1995. Because of her, I understood the importance of conducting my monthly self-exam and was diligent in doing so. If it hadn’t been for my grandmother losing her personal battle, I probably wouldn’t have given those self-exams a second thought and most likely wouldn’t be here today.
At 26 years old in 2000, single and a business professional, breast cancer was the farthest thing from my mind. I was ten feet tall and bulletproof, and as my Mom would say, “Burning my candle at both ends”, I was enjoying my twenties to the fullest. Breast cancer at such a young age was not a common occurrence. In fact, there was some reluctance by doctors to even perform a biopsy. On February 9th, they were as surprised as I with the diagnosis of Stage 1 Infiltrating Ductile Carcinoma. My journey for the next few months included a lumpectomy, four rounds of Adriamycin Cytoxan-the kind of chemo that if it seeped out of my IV, it’d burn a hole through my arm. That was followed by 35 radiation treatments and three years of Tamoxifen. My concerns of fertility were put to rest as I now have two very handsome and active sons who remind me that being a Mom is by far my most amazing accomplishment. This year I celebrate 17 years cancer free!
As we celebrated Schelly's 16th year, I was surprised with a diagnosis as well. On a routine mammogram, a small tumor was found and after a biopsy, it was confirmed to be Stage 0, Grade 3 Ductile Carcinoma In Situ. It is certainly one of the most common types of breast cancer but nonetheless frightening. My course of treatment was a lumpectomy and radiation. With the advancements made in radiation therapy, I was a candidate for a shorter term therapy of 16 treatments. Never missing a tee time throughout my radiation therapy, I now celebrate one year cancer free.
We are indeed advocates and proof that early detection is the key. Never neglect to do your self-exam and GET THAT MAMMOGRAM!