WebMD senior writer Miranda Hitti interviewed breast
cancer survivors as part of a series for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The
series, called “Me & the Girls,” explores the personal stories of these
women after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast cancer survivor Erica Seymore, 34, lives in the Miami area. She never
felt any lumps in her breast. But she noticed a red, itchy mark on her left
breast, and also felt some pain that would come and go in that breast. "It
would be like a pinch and then it wouldn't bother me for a while, and then I'd
get a pinch again," Seymore says. "I just thought something might have bit me
and I was having a reaction to it."
Breast Cancer: Me & the Girls
When breast cancer hits home, it's personal. WebMD shares stories and
advice from women who know what breast cancer is like firsthand.
Zunilda Guzman, 39, had both breasts and ovaries removed after learning she
had breast cancer and a high-risk gene.
Cerceo, 51, had both breasts removed even though she didn’t have breast
Diane Morgan, 71, offers advice on what friends should and shouldn't do
when someone has breast cancer.
But the rash didn't go away; it got larger. So Seymore went to her
gynecologist, who sent her to another doctor for a biopsy and MRI. Those tests showed that she had
inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer.
Difficult choice: Seymore was diagnosed in February 2009 and is
getting treated at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University
of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
First, Seymore got chemotherapy to shrink her breast cancer. And she knew
she needed surgery to remove her left breast.
Deciding what to do about her right breast, which did not show signs of
cancer, was hard. Should she keep it because it appeared healthy, or have it
removed as a precaution?
"I was really struggling there, and I had to pray about that," Seymore says.
"It so happened that the week of my surgery, the doctor called me and said,
'You really don't have to do both. You only really need to do one because it's
only in that one.' So it was like the Lord answered my prayers. That's what
helped me make the final decision."
Recovering from mastectomy: "After the
surgery, I was pretty fine, actually," Seymore says. "I wasn't in as much pain
as I thought I was going to be in. I did have some, but it wasn't excruciating
... it hurt to reach for things."