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Tanya Wilkins: A Breast Cancer Journey of Faith Over Fear

On October 2, 2012 during a routine annual exam, my doctor discovered a lump in my left breast. The next day, I was scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound. During these procedures, the doctor saw lots of calcifications and immediately scheduled me for a biopsy of the lump that Friday. I was on pins and needles waiting for the results. Finally on Monday, October 15, 2012, I received the results and my life was changed drastically. I was diagnosed with Stage 0, DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma-In-Situ).

I never expected to receive this news. I was scheduled to see a Surgical Oncologist, Dr. Nizar Habal at Carolina Breast & Oncologic Surgery in Greenville on the next morning. He explained my diagnosis to me in great detail and reassured me that this was not life-threatening and treatable. I was scheduled for a lumpectomy on the Friday after Thanksgiving. When I went for the follow-up exam from this surgery, again I received news that was unexpected. The results of the pathology report showed that the section removed during the lumpectomy had positive margins. In essence, they did not get all the cancer, and the doctor recommended a mastectomy of my left breast. Upon hearing this news, I elected to have a bilateral surgery (double mastectomy).

At this point in the process, I knew I did not want to go through this type of experience again. I was able to stay positive through the strong support of my family, friends, church family, co-workers, and the wonderful team of doctors who cared for me. All the prayers, calls, visits helped me to get through each step in this process. Through this experience, I focused on the familiar scripture: “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20).  Today, I am now cancer free.

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