To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Yahoo News asked women who have had breast cancer or are going through treatment to write about the people in their lives who stood by them and cared for them. Here's one story.
FIRST PERSON | It's been two decades since my breast cancer diagnosis. Through it all, my husband was my companion: during my surgery, treatments and after.
Today, we're both 86, and living in Los Angeles. Howard and I have known each other for 45 years after we met on a blind date and fell in love the first day we met.
When I discovered I had breast cancer in my 60s, I considered myself lucky. Why? Because I discovered it when it was in the very first stage. I knew it was in the first stage because when I went in for my annual mammogram, there were no signs of cancer.
Two months later, I felt a small lump in my left breast, which I had never felt before. To make certain that my imagination wasn't getting the best of me, I asked my husband to feel my breast. When he told me that he did feel a lump, I became upset. He re-assured me that it was probably nothing to worry about. It made me feel a little better.
Although I went for my second mammogram only two months after the first one, I was disturbed when the nurse reported to me that I had cancer in the left breast. I made an appointment for surgery. My husband was a great companion. As he drove me to the hospital, he was very re-assuring that everything will be alright. This made me feel so much better.
Since my cancer was in the very early stage, I did not need chemotherapy, but I had to go for radiation therapy three times a week for six weeks.
Being a social person, I found my radiation sessions rather pleasant and relaxing. Why? Because while waiting in the waiting room for my treatments, there were other people waiting for their treatments also. When you sit in a room three times a week for six weeks, with basically the same people, you're bound to become friendly with some of the people.
One young man had brain cancer. Apparently, his wife left him because she couldn't take it. When I heard this, I felt so that my husband was definitely not like this man's wife.
Even though the pain from the operation was not too severe, he insisted on making dinner for the next three days after he brought me home from the hospital. Not only did he make the dinner, but when I told him that I would clean up, he insisted: "No, no. You go watch television. "
After he cleaned up, he held my hand, and whispered in my ear, "You're my only."