Breast Cancer: A Short Story

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A story of hope and survival It is said – all too often - that cancer can strike anyone at any time. Rarely, however, does it strike a husband and wife in the prime of their lives within days of one another. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to Maryville residents Michael and Michelle Hankes in 2014. Their unique story of discovery and survival offers hope and insight for anyone faced with the terrifying diagnosis of cancer. Michael, a freelance writer and social media manager, and Michelle, executive director of The Red Cross of East Tennessee, are the parents of two boys – Keegan and Rory – and had been married for 10 years when they were each diagnosed with cancer in 2014. The Hankes’ story begins with that routine chore that…show more content…
“You got the call from your doctor with your biopsy results on Friday,” Michelle recalls while looking at her husband, “I got the call on the following Thursday that I did have a DCIS (Deltoid Carcinoma in Situ) – the earliest stage of breast cancer.” Mammogram technology is so advanced today that breast cancer can often be detected in what is sometimes referred to as “Stage Zero” or precancerous. Unfortunately, Michelle’s biopsy and the battery of tests that followed determined that she had several small cancerous tumors roughly the size of grains of salt. Michelle decided to treat her cancer with perhaps the most aggressive surgical option, a double mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction surgery. Her decision was directly impacted by what her family was already facing with her husband’s recent cancer diagnosis and surgery because the option of possibly avoiding a mastectomy involved a long and drawn out radiation treatment regimen. Additionally, further testing had revealed some irregular tissue in her other breast and she was determined to avoid facing another breast cancer diagnosis down the road if at all

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