By Bella Pelletiere
Ann Scranton was only 49 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In May of 2019, she noticed a dimple on her right breast. After going to an OBGYN for her annual appointment, the dimple then started to form bigger. In July, she was diagnosed with stage 1 estrogen +, progesterone +, invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer.
“I had a bad feeling the moment I saw the dimple on my skin,” said Scranton. “When the donut shape appeared, I knew it was abnormal. I was prepared for my diagnosis and all of the rapid fire doctor appointments to discuss treatment. I was less prepared for the emotional aspects of telling family and friends about my diagnosis.”
As Scranton started her treatment, Scranton talked to many breast cancer patients who spoke about feeling disconnected from their body in the mirror. “I have a normal shaped breast with no nipple, which I admit, I am still getting used to,” Scranton said.
“However, I met a cosmetic tattoo artist that specializes in nipple and scar tattoos, and I will be getting a tattoo when I have healed completely.”
The biggest obstacle for her during the process was the fatigue being an issue early in. It took Ann 8 weeks to recover before returning back to work after her mastectomy. It was then she had to make the decision about her chemotherapy.
The best part of the journey was given so much support that she described it being “overwhelming.”
“I am not someone that asks for help, but I needed it. A good friend had lymphoma before I knew her, and recommended I go to the Cancer Support Community, a local organization that offers support groups for cancer patients and their families,” she said. “That was the best decision I could have made. I began attending weekly meetings shortly after diagnosis, and the men and women I have met through my group have supported me as only another person going through breast cancer could.”
“I opted not to get chemo, and began taking a 10-year course of Tamoxifen,” said Ann. “The long term nature of this disease is still present in my life. That’s been hard to accept. You want to get past it and move on with life, but you are different. It changes you.
Ann Scranton’s message to women in the community is to take preventive measures by giving self exams. She also recommends being acknowledging your body.
“Know your body! Advocate for your own health, don’t be pushed into treatment by your doctors,” she said. “Allow yourself to rest and by all means if you find yourself becoming depressed and self isolating, talk to your doctor about prescribing an antidepressant. It helped me immensely.As well as battling cancer, Ann also was taking care of her family and working full time. “I have an amazing husband, he did everything for me,” she said. “Pink Ribbon Girls provided meals during 6 weeks of treatment, which was such a relief. My work family was also so supportive. I could not have rested those 8 weeks if I was worried about work, and my team stepped up and covered it all.”