Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Oct/Nov 2009 issue of Playdate Magazine featuring three Yakima-area moms who had been diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40. While the other two mothers are in remission, Michelle Berthon’s battle with cancer is ongoing. This blog is designed to keep you updated on her story. To start, please meet Michelle:
Michelle Berthon, diagnosed at 39
Just this summer, the last week of June, Michelle and husband Todd celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary with a cruise to Alaska.
“It was the best vacation we’ve ever had,” Michelle says, enthusiastically ticking off a list off the couple’s adventures: Rock climbing, sea kayaking, riding a zip line.
Aboard the ship, Michelle also performed a breast self-exam, a precautionary task she’d been through roughly once a month for years. This time, she felt a lump.
“I was not nervous or worried,” recalls Michelle, who’d had two benign fibroadenomas removed in the past. Still, the stay-at-home mom to Alex, 5, and Madeleine, 3, arranged for a mammogram as soon as she got back to Yakima.
So, it caught Michelle by surprise when she learned in July that she had a Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in her right breast. The tumor was fast-growing, but Michelle found it early, before it had spread into her lymph nodes or other tissues.
Nine days after her diagnosis, and just three weeks after she found the lump, Michelle had surgery to remove the tumor. A month later, she had a second surgery so doctors could make sure they’d removed all of the cancerous cells; test results indicated the surgeries were a success.
Dreading the sickness and hair loss caused by the cancer-fighting drugs, Michelle began chemotherapy in mid-September. She remains confident that early detection, aggressive treatment and prayers of support will help her win this battle.
“I have no doubt I’ll make it to the five-year mark,” Michelle says. “I’ve never had any doubt.”
– Sara Bristol
Filed under Michelle's Story