Ten Years to the Top

Here's me - Dena Lasater - Breast Cancer Survivor

Faith sees the invisible
Believes the incredible
And receives the impossible.

Diagnosis Day

December 5, 1996 -- Olympia, Washington

My Everest story began in a doctor's office with the unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer.  I did not have a lump which is usually a "sign" or indicator. And no one in my family had ever had cancer.

Strangely, an unexpected injury precipitated my unexpected diagnosis.  In mid-November, I happened to be standing at the wrong place at the wrong time.  A heavy 4 x 4 board flew out of the back window of a van, hitting me smack-dab on the left breast.  When the area became swollen, I attributed it to damaged tissue, caused by the hard blow.  I went to my doctor--just to be on the safe side--and a mammogram was scheduled on the day before Thanksgiving.

In 2006, I hiked to Everest Base Camp - since my diagnosis, the mountains have become important symbols in my life.  Photo: Jen ParrAny woman will tell you--the worst of all times to have a mammogram is the day before a holiday.  Waiting for the results of a report can be nerve-racking.  To alleviate my nervousness and fears, I kept telling myself, "It is just an injury," and "I don't feel a lump."  Now, eight days after my XRays, I listened in shock to My Diagnosis of breast cancer.  I felt void of any feeling--like my body had turned to stone--until two needle biopsies brought me back to life.  Doctor would call with the results.

Driving home, my spirits were as dismal as the grey, damp afternoon. "Tell me what to do, God," I prayed. "Just tell me!!" All I could think about was getting into bed and covering up with my warm down comforter.

Instead, the first thing I did when I got home was to call my friend and neighbor, Adrianne. "You will have a second opinion," she said.  It was a statement, not a question.  There was my answer, and therein lay my first glimmer of Hope.  A second opinion, to disprove today's diagnosis!  No need to tell my daughter, my son, or anyone!  I would get a second opinion.

Post Script: Diagnosis Day is a Turning Point.  Life is never, ever the same.

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