It took about a month of biopsies, more mammograms, MRIs, ultrasounds and genetic testing in my suburban Chicago hospital before I was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. I then had a unilateral mastectomy, followed months later by reconstructive surgery.
I was lucky that my type of cancer responds well to hormone therapy, with no chemotherapy or radiation. Despite my excellent prognosis and low chance of recurrence, my breast cancer almost killed me.
That’s because although my medical team did an excellent job getting rid of the cancer, I was left to my own devices with the surprise bout of depression that took its place.
As frightened as I was during the initial call with my doctor, where she informed me that I had cancer, I had little time to think during the month-long flurry of tests and appointments.
My local hospital’s nurse navigator took my many phone calls, answered