From Tracie: Breast Cancer: This Is Judy's Story

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Breast Cancer: This Is Judy's Story

I have typed and retyped this introduction more times than I can count, and I don't seem to have the right words. But that is okay, because today is not about my words. It is about the words of my mother-in-law. A little over two weeks ago she learned that she has breast cancer, and today she is here to share her story...

Judy, my mother-in-law, but I just call her mom.

About eight years ago, I had a mammogram. There was a spot, but due to a misunderstanding with an idiot of a doctor, I chose to ignore it. After four years, I found a new family doctor for me and my husband, Jim. This doctor treated me for Jim's problems, and treated Jim for mine. I resumed my hunt for another doctor, once again ignoring the spot in my breast.

Three years ago, the lump in my breast began to grow. Then it started showing on the outside of my breast. I was not going to let this dumb doctor even see it.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was in a little family restaurant in the Pensacola area. I saw someone I thought I knew, but had not seen for probably 30 years or more. It turned out to be my first cousin Tommy and his wife, Karen, whom I had never met. We sat and talked for hours, and then Karen told me she had two mastectomys. I told Karen of my situation, and she recommended a family doctor. I made Jim and I appointments one hour apart.

Dr. Buckley saw me first, and was taking my history. When she ask me when my last mammogram was, I told her I needed to talk to her about that. I told her about the large lump in my right breast, and that it had started growing on the outside. She took one look and said "Oh My God, You have cancer."

I lost it. I was hoping it was a cyst. She wanted me to have another mammogram. I told her about Karen, and said I wanted to go to the Angel Williamson's Women's Center. She made me an appointment that day and also set me up with and oncologist. Needless to say, my husband did not get to see her for his appointment.

Dr. Angel Williamson was my angel. So caring and so kind. I had the mammogram and an ultra sound. I was told I had a very large tumor.

Then to the oncologist. He told me I did not have a breast, just a large tumor. Next came the scans and biopsy and frozen section. No one would tell me anything. I called Dr. Williamson and told her I was going to have a nervous breakdown if someone did not tell me something. She told me I did not have time to have a nervous breakdown, that I could have one later on down the line, and she sat me up with a PET/CT scan.

I have to tell you here that I have been disabled since I was 30 with crippling arthritis and I have had four back surgeries. I cannot tell you the pain I experienced laying on my back for these scans. The doctors even prescribed 30 mg. morphine. Didn't do a thing. After the scan, the pain was so bad, I could not move from the waist down and the nurses had to literally put me in my wheel chair.

Karen and Tommy and Pastor Ken Cook came to the center, and sat with me and Jim the whole time I was having the PET/CT scan. What a blessing I received when God put these people in my life. I fully believe God arranged my meeting with Tommy and Karen for a reason. They invited us to church, and the church has rallied around Jim and I during this time.

Back to the cancer. We got the results that day, and it was not good. The pain in my back was due to a large tumor. Why did no one find it during all these surgeries? Well, it does not show on an MRI - a PET/CT scan is the only way to find it. We also found out that I had the most common type of breast cancer, but because I chose to ignore it, it had spread. In addition to the large tumor at the bottom of my spine, I also have two smaller tumors in my spine.

I am starting radiation on Tuesday, but it will only shrink the tumor, hopefully 80%. There is no cure, but the radiation will ease my pain, so I will not have to be on morphine any more. (The doctor has upped my morphine to 60 mg, for now) I was told that after the radiation, they can extend my life a few years if I take chemo. But that the chemo will not cure it, and there is no use in having a mastectomy.

I urge all ladies to have that mammogram!

Please, please don't put it off like I did, and go through what I am going through. Ignorance and fear kept me from having mine. One thing I know for sure, and I fully believe it, God is bigger than this cancer and whatever His will, it will be the right thing.

I am asking for prayer for me and for my 82 yr. old husband Jim, who is standing beside me all the way. I see him growing tired and I pray God will give him strength. Jesus is my Rock, and Jim is the love of my life.
Judy and Jim
Thank you for being supportive to my mother-in-law today, as she shared her story.
If you notice something different or strange about your breasts, please get it checked out immediately!


  1. I'm so sorry you had a terrible doctor in the beginning and put off getting the lump checked out for so long. I hope that your message is heard by many women and that they get checked.

  2. I want to say something wonderful,but its awfully hard to see the keys ...
    May God just wrap you in all of His love, that you will be eased from pain and that your husband will have strength and peace ...
    What a gift your words will be to so many, your message needs to be heard ...
    Take care of yourself, be kind to your body, feed your mind and your soul.
    By God's grace ... much love to you and your family xxx

  3. I am so so sorry you are going through this. I do hope that your message is heard by many. Sending thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  4. Oh Judy, I am so sorry. Sorry that you have cancer, sorry that you weren't taken care of by your doctors and sorry that you are in pain.
    I hope the radiation shrinks the tumor and relieves your pain and I hope that you are surrounded by love and laughter.
    Thank you for sharing this. I promise to always have my mammograms.

  5. I am so sorry for you. But I am also amazed by your courage and grace in sharing this story. I am sending you and your family love and light.

  6. Thank you for letting your Mother-in-law tell her story. I hope that women will read this and not wait. I had a scare last year, and went to have it checked. Even just the thought of there potentially being something wrong was terrifying. I can not imagine what she and your family must be going through. Prayers for you all.

  7. Sending love and prayers to Judy and to you my friend. Every woman should make sure she takes care of herself and fights for her self when it comes to care. We have too many people depending on us to not fight for ourselves.

  8. Judy, first of all, I am praying for you so much! (I consider Tracie and Thomas and Katarina like faraway family, so you are constantly on my mind.) Secondly, thank you for sharing your story. I had to go just yesterday to have a lump in my breast checked. I will be meeting with a surgeon later this week to find out what it is. At this point they do not suspect cancer... but I do want to say that fear almost kept me from making the appointment to check on things. Your story has helped me have the resolve to follow through with my testing. God bless you, and thank you for sharing your faith too. I am praying for extra measures of comfort, hope and strength for you and for your family. Hugs to you! I am so sorry for what you are going through.

  9. I am so sorry, Judy, that this is happening to you. I hope that you will be surround by love and laughter during this time.

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. Your faith in God is strong and so is your love for Jim and your family. Lean on them when you need to, and know that you will be kept in our prayers as well.

  11. What a heartbreaking story- I'm so sorry! And I hate that your doctor said "omg you have cancer"- that doesn't seem too tactful.

  12. Family, positive attitude and your faith in God is even more important than any of the doctors or medicines/treatments. I know, I'm a survivor! Be strong and believe!! xo Praying for you!

  13. Judy, may God's grace and blessings keep you safe and bring you healing. Thank you for sharing your story - I hope that many will read it and heed its message. Keeping you, Jim, Tracie and family in my prayers. Much love to you all.

  14. Judy, Jim and Tracie,

    What a burden to carry. May you feel the love of your community and family as you feel your way through this challenging time. You are blessed to have a faith to put your struggles into a context and caring friends that are holding your hands and giving you the best support they can.

    I hope too that it brings you comfort to know you have people you don't even know praying for you and cheering you on.

    Much love,


  15. I just don't have the words...I'm very sorry, Judy.

  16. Thank you So much for sharing with us. I know the fear is a powerful thing. Your courage and strength are great allies in your battle. We are here and praying.

  17. Oh, Judy. I'm so very sorry. :( Thank you very much for sharing your story and your message - I hope we all take it to heart.

    Sending much love, strength, and prayers to you and yours.


  18. Tracie - I'm so saddened by this story, but I am so glad that you are able to offer your MIL this space to share her story, the history and the entire experience. I'm thinking of you and sending up healing vibes so that you may be strong during all of this. Much love to you and yours. And Judy, again, thank you so much for sharing.

  19. Thinking of you--and your entire family. And I could not agree more, being proactive is essential. Much love

  20. I literally cannot believe the number of people I know that have breast cancer - it is so pervasive! such great advice to take charge of your own body and report changes and have mammograms! I am SO terribly sorry for your MIL's news. She sounds like a strong lady.

  21. Oh Judy, so much love going out to you. For sharing your story to try and help others. For having to deal with all the pain (back surgeries are HARD). For keeping your faith. I'm so sorry you are dealing with all of this.

    Jim, much love to you as well, for being there with your lovely wife and dealing with this as well. I'm so very sorry you are going through this.

    Tracie, know that I'm sending you and all of yours love and blessings. Thank you for sharing this, and please give each other hugs from me and mine.

  22. What a heart wrenching story. Brought tears to my eyes. I, for one, have definitely been inspired to take better care of myself already. You are an inspiration, Judy!

  23. I'm sorry to hear about your tumor and the terrible misunderstanding your first doctor caused. I'm sending lots of healing sparkles your way.

  24. I Love You My Awesome Mom!!! <3

  25. So sorry to hear about this. Will be praying for you. xxx

  26. Sending prayers for your family.

  27. All the best to you, Judy, I know you can fight this hard and people show doctors who's boss all the time, so don't you dare give up.

    I had a lump last year in "rightie' as I like to call her and whereas my usual MO would be "it's nothing, don't worry" I was so freaked out I went to the doctor who booked me in for an ultra sound and a mammogram and was prodded by various medical professionals and luckily it turned out to be a cyst, so I agree with you - check that stuff out,ladies and don't hesitate.

    Good wishes to you, Judy and to Tracie and your family!

  28. Sending positive thoughts your family's way.

    Lately, it seems like I'm hearing about breast cancer all over the place! I'm sorry to hear that it's struck your family, Tracie. Please thank your MIL for sharing this.

  29. You have my prayers and my thanks for sharing your story. Tracie knows how much we love her and her strength. I have no doubt that you are cut from the same cloth and will be around for a long time to share more stories!

    God bless!!!


  30. Prayers going out to your family!!!

  31. Good and healing thoughts to you and your family and those who love you.


  32. What a brave woman to share her story during a painful and scary time in her life. Thank you, Tracie, for sharing it here. I will pray for your mother-in-law, and your entire family.