Breast cancer and Lyme disease: one woman’s message
Rarely, do we read about patients with cancer also suffering from Lyme disease. But many do. A courageous 46-year-old woman shares her heartbreaking story of battling terminal breast cancer. In the article, published by Glamour magazine, she describes her frustration with medicine and how her experiences as a Lyme disease patient affected her decisions in seeking medical help.
The woman, a mother to three boys, initially assumed a lump in her breast was due to Lyme disease. “Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought a lump I had found was part of my Lyme disease. I thought, ‘Okay, let me just watch this and see if it goes away over the next month’,” she tells Glamour reporter Jillian Kramer.
She explains that having cancer had never occurred to her and as a Lyme disease patient she had become accustomed to being judged and was worried about how medical professionals would view her complaints.
“I’d gone through a long bout with Lyme disease and had a lot of experience being blown off by doctors,” she says. “I had even gotten into the habit of blowing things off. I’d say, It’s probably nothing.
“I’d put it [breast lump] off for such a long time, thinking that people would think I was being silly.”
After her diagnosis of Stage IIIC breast cancer, the woman underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy. Unfortunately, she relapsed a month after completing treatment and was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.
She cautions others. “Even if you’re worried about being wrong, see a doctor.”
Editor’s Note: This courageous woman passed away in December of 2019 but her story is an important reminder to readers, particularly Lyme disease patients, to always follow-up with your doctor when a new symptom emerges. Do not assume a new symptom is Lyme-related, even when you’ve had a history of Lyme disease.
- Kramer, Jillian.This Mom Has Terminal Breast Cancer, But She’s Still Fighting for Her Kids. Glamour magazine, October 31, 2019.