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."
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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."