LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Laurel resident Esther Bridges looks back at the year 1993 and remembers a visit to the OB-GYN for her regular checkup.
“He did a digital breast exam, gave me a passing, found nothing,” Bridges said.
Five months later, Bridges says she noticed something different.
“I was actually getting ready to go to bed and rubbed across my left breast and felt something really hard and from there I started to examine myself,” Bridges said.
Bridges says she then scheduled a doctor’s appointment.
“Had a mammogram done, then a biopsy and that determined that it was malignant,” Bridges said.
She recalls the exact feeling she had when the doctor told her she had breast cancer.
“I was afraid, I was only 35 years old at that time,” Bridges said. “I had three children, the oldest was sixteen and I was kind of concerned about whether I was going to live or whether I was going to die.”
She says with prayer and a good support system, she was ready to face whatever was ahead. Her next decision was to choose a treatment option.
“The one that had the least recurrence rate was the mastectomy and the chemotherapy, so I chose to have the mastectomy and the chemotherapy,” Bridges said.
After six months of chemotherapy, Bridges said it was time to check the results.
“All those tests came back negative,” Bridges said. “I was declared cancer-free.”
Bridges says she hasn’t missed a checkup since.
“From what they tell me, everything is still looking really good,” Bridges said.
She says it’s important to have a good relationship with your doctor.
“Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed,” Bridges said. “Be willing to open up and talk about it, be frank about it so that you can get help as soon as possible. I am so thankful that I found the cancer when I did, that I could immediately get treatment because I believe that as aggressive as mine was, if it had lingered, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”