My guest on this episode is Tandy Pryor. She was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular breast cancer in July 2019 at the age of 57. She talked about her gut feeling that something was wrong, diagnostic testing, and her course of treatments. Tandy stressed the importance of listening to our guts and maintain power over our own bodies and lives.
Tandy Pryor was diagnosed with stage 1 lobular breast cancer in July 2019 at the age of 57. She was behind schedule for her regular mammogram, about 14 or 15 months since her last. Tandy had an inkling that something was wrong. She had a spot on the left side that seemed to be a bit more fleshy than on the right side. However, an examination from her doctor and a mammogram did not find anything.
Still feeling as though something was wrong, Tandy had her doctor order a self-pay MRI. When she had her first MRI appointment, the machine broke and she had to reschedule. She had to wait another 6 weeks for an MRI. Something suspicious was found through the MRI and she was sent for additional diagnostic tests to include an ultrasound and biopsy. One of the complexities of lobular breast cancer is that it is not often found in traditional mammography. She feels lucky that the cancer was found at an earlier stage.
Tandy’s doctor called her while she was driving to tell her the results of her tests. She knew that he was going to tell her it was cancer. When asked to pull over, she did not want to because she felt like pulling over would make it all too real. Interestingly, Tandy’s adoptive and birth mothers both had post-menopausal breast cancer.
Tandy has a history of breast cancer in her family. She had done a 23 and Me test because she is adopted. The results indicated the presence of a BRCA mutation. However, a full panel of genetic testing indicated contradictory results that she did not have that specific genetic mutation.
Tandy underwent a lumpectomy. Though the cancer is estrogen positive, she opted out of Tamoxifen. She uses a natural estrogen blocker instead. She underwent radiation twice daily for 5 days. Tandy shared that part of her treatment has been working from the inside out to improve her health. Her one-year follow-up appointment was scheduled to take place but was rescheduled due to COVID.
As an empowerment coach, Tandy teaches her clients to use their instincts because it is our superpower. The part under her arm had nothing to do with her diagnosis but it was just enough to call her attention that something was not right in her body. Our medical system is set up in a way that takes away the patient’s voice, decisions, etc.
For Tandy, the biggest lesson learned in all of this is to follow your instincts. Claim your power- before, during, and after. Using her own voice has been the ultimate gift/lesson through this experience. She stresses the importance of learning to speak up for oneself, to drive their own decisions, and drive their own life. We still have the sovereignty of our own bodies and life.