Esther’s Breast Cancer Journey

Post by Esther Howard

I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Breast Cancer) on May 19, 2014 at age 42.

It all started with a bad ear infection the beginning of April. I took 2 rounds of antibiotics and the pain only got worse. Finally, I was referred to an ENT Specialist. When my referral nurse went to make the appointment, she saw an order for a mammogram which had been sitting there since October 2013. She not only scheduled my ENT appointment, but she scheduled my mammogram for the following week. If I wouldn’t have had an ear infection, then I probably still wouldn’t have gotten my mammogram. I was putting it off because I didn’t have “time.”

I didn’t realize the importance of a mammogram because I thought I would never get breast cancer because I’ve been healthy my entire life.

After my diagnosis, I then got tested to see if I’m a carrier of the BRCA gene. I found out a month later that I was positive for BRCA1 mutation. I then decided to get a double mastectomy, oophorectomy, DIEP flap procedure reconstruction all the same day, which was August 28, 2014.

I then had chemo treatments from 10/3/2014 through 1/15/2015. The first treatment was extremely difficult; however the remaining treatment went much easier as my body adjusted to the chemo.

Even though this journey has been very difficult, it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me because it changed my entire outlook on life. I found out just how strong I was and was able to beat cancer.

Ladies, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting your mammograms at age 40. If you notice that it runs in your family, talk to your doctor about getting your mammogram much sooner. It could save your life!

HealthNet’s Mammography Fund provides coverage for Indianapolis women in need of mammograms. Donate online today at


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