Entering the Cancer War Zone
Griffin's breasts were reconstructed immediately following her mastectomy—and her reaction was far different from what she expected. "When you look down and you see these great, voluptuous mounds, it's not as psychologically debilitating as it was for women 10 years ago who were getting the radical mastectomies." And the best part for Griffin? "My breasts are so perky, they say I never have to wear a bra again," she says. "There's a silver lining to all of this."
Although Griffin is cancer-free, the fight isn't over yet and she is currently undergoing six weeks of radiation therapy. "Right now, I don't have any sign of cancer, but I still need the radiation because these cancers are so tricky and they return and they hide," she says. "I feel a little bruised after a long fight this year, but I'm resetting my sights on this last six weeks. It really is mind over matter."
For women in a similar situation, Griffin's biggest piece of advice after being diagnosed is to do your research. "Do not trust one doctor," she says. "I love my doctors, and my team of doctors saved my life—but I double-checked. I researched things myself. I got a PhD in cancer by the end of this."
For anyone not in her situation, Griffin says to schedule a mammogram now if you haven't already done so this year—and to demand that doctors find a better way to screen for breast cancer while women are pregnant and nursing. Griffin began getting mammograms at age 30, but her tumors grew while she was nursing and remained undetected until one was the size of an orange. "I get emails from other women who are the same age as me, with small children, who were diagnosed," she says."We have to find a way to screen."
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